Students of Los Angeles Trade Tech College (LATTC) held a protest rally today. They were protesting budget cuts that have eliminated a summer session, increased class sizes for the available session, and eliminated winter classes. They were also protesting cut backs in student jobs and EPOS and the elimination of the CAL Gains program.
Students chanted and held signs asking that their education not be cut. There were stories of gang bangers trying to start anew, but who will be thrown back into that lifestyle because they will not have an alternative. Homeless people, first generation college students, and those trapped in poverty will be affected by the cutbacks and eliminations that have been put into place.
Because of the population that LATTC serves, an increase in class size would be detrimental since it would mean that the neediest students would be overlooked, and possibly fall through the cracks.
Students that are on EPOS and CAL Gain are the neediest students in our community, and any elimination of their funding, would prevent them from obtaining training and jobs that pay above minimum wage, thus continuing the cycle of poverty.
Students are not being given a free ride since over 50% of the students have to work full-time as they attend the school. The cutbacks in classes and financial aid will mean the end for some. Further, the cutbacks mean that students will take longer to graduate due to course reduction. This can also spell the end of college for some.
The cutbacks will mean the cutback or elimination of the Computer lab, which is the only computer most of the students have access to. Without the lab, students will not be able to acquire the computer skills needed to compete in today’s market place.
Students were not told of the cutbacks until late last week. Some did not even know that classes they registered for will not be held, since the cutback means the complete elimination of a summer session. This crisis came about due to the failure of the Governor to make a case for passage of many proposals in the last election to voters.
LATTC is a vocational school founded in 1925. They allow thousands of students, who could not afford college, to attend school without regard to their educational background. The one thing for sure is that the college serves some of the most underprivileged students in Los Angeles County.
One thing is clear; any cutbacks will hit the ones who need the help the most. The students seeking to have a better life, and take advantage of this educational opportunity are having the rug pulled out from under them by the California State government, under the leadership of Arnold Schwarzenegger.