Feb 25 - Ypsilanti, Michigan - A socialist programme to defend education
The right to public education in the United States is under attack. In Detroit, Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb recently announced the closure of 45 more schools. Half the schools that existed in 2005 will be shut down by the end of the year. It is the same story in district after district throughout Michigan: schools being shut down, teachers pay attacked, services privatized, and staff laid off. Higher education is also being cut, including the elimination of the Michigan Promise Scholarship.
The same policies are being rolled out throughout the country. Barack Obama, with his “Race to the Top” program, is expanding the attack on education initiated by Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” act. The Obama plan makes federal funding for school districts conditional on closing public schools in favor of charter schools and paying teachers based on student test scores -- measures that will lead to larger class sizes, lower pay for teachers, and the effective denial of public education for working-class students.
Education cuts are part of a wider assault on all the social programs and gains won by working people over decades. The goal is to make workers and youth pay for the economic crisis and the multibillion-dollar bailout of the banks. The claim is always that there is “no money” for basic necessities, even as the wealthy grow richer than ever and hundreds of billions are expended on war.
The International Students for Social Equality is calling this meeting to discuss a new program for the defense of public education, one that begins from the need to transform society to meet social need, not private profit.
From the preschool to post-secondary level, the right to a decent public education in the United States is under attack. The economic crisis, which has precipitated the collapse of the housing market and the tax base upon which education depends, has been seized on as the occasion for full-scale dismantling of the public education system.
President Barack Obama, with his “Race to the Top” program, is expanding the attack on education initiated by Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” act. The Obama plan makes federal funding for school districts conditional on closing traditional public schools in favor of charter schools (publicly funded but privately managed) and paying teachers based on the scores of their students—measures that will widen inequality in the school system. Education cuts are part of a wider assault on all the social programs and gains won by the working class over decades, to make working people pay for the raging economic crisis and the multibillion bailouts handed over to the bankers and the superrich. This can only be opposed through a mass political mobilisation of students in alliance with broader sections of working people.
This means a struggle for a new form of social organization that starts with social need rather than private profit and in which the main levers of the economy, including the banks, are publicly owned and democratically controlled. It is a struggle for the only alternative to capitalism, that is, socialism.
Join the International Students for Social Equality at this public meeting for a discussion of the way forward in the defense of education.