The La Riva/Puryear campaign’s 10 point program says that education is a right. It is one of the essentials of life—like housing and healthcare—and should not be run for profit. Quality education from pre-K to graduate school should be free and student debt should be canceled.
We stand in solidarity with teachers, students and community members fighting against neoliberal education “reforms” which effectively undermine public education and increase educational inequity. We salute the educators and everyone who is out in the streets fighting to defend the right to a quality public education for all children.
Schools in the United States have faced an onslaught of reforms promoted by billionaires like Eli Broad, Bill and Melinda Gates and the Waltons. As a result we have seen an increasing reliance on high stakes standardized tests which are being used in teacher evaluations; the promotion of charter schools; the demonization of teachers and teacher unions and more kids being put on the school to prison pipeline.
It is inspirational to see teachers standing up and fighting back in a movement that is demanding full and equitable funding for schools, standing against racism and for a professional and diverse teaching force, demanding that the community play a leading role in developing educational policies that include student centered, developmentally appropriate curricula and an end to high stakes testing.
One reason teachers are so opposed to the abuse of standardized tests is that they know (and research has proven) that these tests mostly measure the socio-economic status of the students. If the educational “reformers” were truly serious about helping students and improving educational outcomes, they would focus on eradicating poverty and racism.
In every society that has sought to build socialism, the educational level of the people has dramatically increased. This is because these societies have made educating the people a priority, while simultaneously reducing poverty and working against all forms of discrimination.
After its revolution, Cuba eradicated illiteracy. Despite being a small and poor nation that has been bullied by the U.S. economic blockade, Cuba has so many doctors they can send them all over the world, and their scientists develop innovative treatments. Education from nursery school to graduate school is completely free.
That is why we are for socialism. Socialism is a society where political and economic power is in the hands of the working class and the oppressed. It is a society where the basic needs of the population and the planet are planned for and guaranteed.