SPEAC write-in to support education budget increase

By Matt Gilbert

Students can’t get the classes they want, facilities and services are bad and the reason for all these shortcomings is always the same: the school just doesn’t have any money.

It seems no one can do anything about the problems. The NIU Student Association believes the students can.

The SA’s Student Political Education and Action Committee (SPEAC) is sponsoring a legislative write-in from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Tuesday in the Holmes Student Center between the Center Cafe and Diversions.

The write-in will be in support of a budget resolution amendment sponsored by Sen. James M. Jeffords (R-Vt). Jeffords’ amendment calls for a spending increase of 1 percent per year until 10 percent of the federal budget goes to elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. The education increase will come out of the federal defense budget.

The amendment goes up for a vote in Congress this spring. It will be a non-binding amendment, which means it will only have as much support as members of Congress are willing to give it every year at budget-making time.

Maura Jandris, SPEAC committee chair, is organizing NIU’s campaign.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Jandris said. “Since the cold war is over it’s time to scale down the military budget. If we want to compete globally we need to do something to improve the education system in this country. It’s really sad that education is only 2 percent of the federal budget.”

The write-in table in the student center will have sample letters students can use to write to their respective members of Congress. The letters SPEAC collects will be sent to the United States Student Association, a student lobbying group in Washington D.C.

One person who agrees with Jandris is Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.)

“We have to make education a priority in this country as we have not. Is another B-2 bomber going to do more for the future of our country than putting the same amount into education? Education is costly, but the alternative to spending money on education is more costly,” Simon said.

Jandris also believes students need to support the amendment for the sake of their future. “It’s not just an issue for higher education,” she said. “We have to consider primary and secondary education as well. It won’t be long before we have our own children.”

“It’s really sad that education is only 2 percent of the federal budget.”