LOS ANGELES, CA, Sept. 14 — At the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) area union meetings last week, some teachers called for a strike against the attacks on students and teachers, showing that “education reform” is fascist and part of the rulers’ moves to prepare for wider war.
On August 25, the Board of Education voted to turn over up to 200 lower-performing schools and 51 new schools to charter school operators. This is fascist reorganization of the local school system by a U.S. ruling class that is in an on-going war and an era-defining economic crisis. After years of neglect this school reorganization is a qualitative shift as the bosses attempt to create a school system that will produce technically-trained and patriotic young workers to join the military and future war production. PLP needs to work among these youth who are future workers and soldiers, key forces for revolution.
This school reorganization is also being pushed in Obama’s so called “Race to the Top,” where his education secretary Arne Duncan, has proposed a competition for $4.35 billion in federal grants to carry out “school reform.” States like California, where teachers’ unions had won laws that prohibit tying teacher evaluation and pay scales to student test data (so called “merit pay”) will be ineligible for these funds. But Duncan was in Sacramento recently to help State Senator Gloria Romero’s bid to change the law to make California eligible. And the LA Board of education just voted to enter the “Race to the Top” competition, also agreeing to tie teacher evaluations to test scores. These tests emphasize patriotism. Tying test scores to teacher evaluations is a way to enforce teaching patriotic lies and allow administrations to get rid of higher-paid older teachers while hiring younger teachers for lower wages and benefits.
In the face of the current attack, UTLA leadership is urging teachers to write local proposals to do school reform themselves. While the union pays lip service to organizing the Charter Schools, they are not even trying to organize all teachers, including charter employees, into the same bargaining unit. UTLA President Duffy, loyal servant of capitalism, calls on teachers to get involved in so-called grass roots school reorganization such as the innovation division, “i-design.” Such reorganization would be done to meet the ruling class’s needs, but would have to be approved by the school board and probably require a corporate partner. This is not grass roots; it’s doing the bosses’ patriotic work to remake the schools to better prepare students for war, to defend a system of exploitation, racism and war. Local school control means teachers working with students and parents to administer their fascist system. We can’t unite with those who oppress us, exploit us and send us off to war!
More layoffs and foreclosures are coming, so patriotic education reform will take on more importance for the bosses. A trade union response to this attack is totally inadequate. PLP calls on teachers, students and parents to organize a strike against the fascist reorganization of public schools. Organizing such a strike, based on expanding CHALLENGE networks, builds the unity of parents, teachers, and students to prepare us for the struggle to get rid of the capitalist system and build a communist society.