BOSTON, MA, May 19 — Chanting “Bail out schools, not banks” and “Money for schools, not war,” Boston teachers, students, parents and supporters rallied at the State House and marched to City Hall. We demanded no cuts in public school programs and full funding for community colleges and public education.
This was the first mass action of Boston teachers against budget cuts since layoffs were announced in December. Teachers attacked cuts in their own schools. A Haitian community leader spoke against cutbacks, pointing to rising immigrant dropout rates. A Roxbury Community College student attacked underfunding at state colleges. A parent explained how cuts in inner-city schools are racist. A school bus driver opposed the Superintendent’s plan to further segregate the Boston public schools by creating five zones and restricting school choice to within these zones.
A PLP speaker called for an end to the system of capitalism that created the economic crisis. PLP leaflets calling for communist revolution were distributed.
To organize this rally inside the Boston Teachers Union (BTU), teachers had to fight the BTU Executive Board for months. The Board overturned the vote of the BTU membership to sponsor the rally, disgusting many members. The Board is calling for more taxes on working people, and for lobbying “friends” in the government. But many teachers followed the call to hold the rally anyway!
Teachers are skilled workers. But, like all workers, they are under attack by the bosses. Therefore, they must unite with working-class parents and students to fight against the bosses and their budget cuts. Otherwise, other workers may view teachers as “greedy and selfish.” By fighting to improve the education of working-class students and against racism, imperialism and war, teachers can fight for the needs of the whole working class.
The Progressive Labor Party tries to give leadership to the anger of the hundreds and thousands of teachers, parents and students and turn the fight against cutbacks into the fight for communist revolution.