senior Natalie El-Zayat's can pinpoint the moment when she knew she had to stand up against education funding cuts.
Her 10-year-old brother came home with his U.S. history book. It was falling apart, with no binding, missing pages, and with no back cover.
"I got so angry because (the school) expected him to learn from it, and they would not replace it for him," she said. "I just can’t take it anymore."
On Thursday afternoon, El-Zayat joined with other Fordson students in showing local support for the National Day of Action for Education–a country-wide effort to "reverse the budget cuts, tuition hikes, and attacks on job security, and fully fund public education and social services," according to organizers, who work under the umbrella of the Occupy movement.
Fordson senior Husain Bazzi, the main organizer of his school's rally on Thursday, brought together the Fordson Club of Political Science and Arab Student Union for the event.
"Hopefully students here in Dearborn will show that they value their education and together, as a part of a nationwide movement, we can get the message across that students, teachers, staff, principals, administration all together, are working together for the same cause," Bazzi said. "We’re bringing more visibility to the issue; letting people know that we are aware of it, and we’re not just sitting there."
Bazzi said the textbook was just one example of ways in which education is falling short. Overcrowded classrooms, out-of-date technology and increased requirements compound the problem.
"It speaks great volumes when a country can’t replace a textbook of its own history," Bazzi said. "Just like the book, the education system is collapsing."
El-Zayat added that the fact that elementary schools can't get the supplies they need shows that it's a problem throughout students' whole educational career.
"He’s so young," she said. "If they can’t get them the tools they need, how can I expect them to supply us with the tools and technology we need?"