It’s your turn to be heard

They wanted to be seen. So they waved banners and giant, inflatable crayons.

They wanted to be heard. So they chanted and danced.

Most important, they wanted to protect Kentucky’s K-12 educational system. So 21,000 of them flooded the Capitol steps in Frankfort.

It looks like K-12 supporters got what they wanted, as long as the legislature doesn’t renege on its promise of stable funding.

Last week’s statewide rally for education, which included a sizable contingent of Western’s teacher education students, appears to have spared K-12 from budget cuts.

With a similar rally scheduled for Feb. 27 — this time on behalf of higher education — the Western students who attended last week’s protest should serve as an example of the power of activism. Hopefully, they will inspire the rest of campus to get involved.

Many of the Western students who descended on Frankfort last week are prospective public school teachers. They feared that potential budget cuts would threaten their ability to land a job after graduation.

At first glance, it may not seem that cuts to higher education would hinder college students’ employment opportunities. But any decrease in Western’s operating budget would diminish the quality of our education, in turn limiting our ability to become stand-out candidates in what’s already a slow job market.

That’s why Western’s students should set aside their typical apathy and take a stand. We’re not dealing with Diddle Arena seating or parking lot construction. The Feb. 27 rally could be a major factor in the futures of Kentucky’s universities and their students.

We’re calling on all Western students and faculty who can manage a Thursday away from class to make the trip to Frankfort. Those who can’t are encouraged to contact their congressional representatives and argue for the protection of higher education.

The K-12 rally attracted 21,000. We think the higher education version needs to draw comparable support in order for its goals to be met.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky claims that “Education Pays.”

Last week, the K-12 community did what it could to make sure it stays that way.

We hope those who pay for higher education take advantage of an opportunity to do the same.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.