The Charade is over
- The following is submitted to the West Contra Costa Times for their op-ed page. They forgot to print my earlier responce to Daniel Borenstein and told me our article "Like a Band-aid on Gangrene" is too long. Hope this one makes it to print.
The Charade is over. Charles Rachlis 2/14/09
As of February 11th the charade is over. The West Contra Costa Unified School District’s board has abandoned us to the callous dictates of the State trustee. In so doing they have disregarded the communities demand to save our neighborhood schools. They vote reveled the bankruptcy of the board as an institution of democratic governance. By neglecting to mobilize the community to defend public education they have lost any claim to leadership. They have spent the last three months promoting division in the community over solidarity.
Lacking or shying away from a class analysis of the crisis in public education the board is not thore4tically equipped to provide leadership in a predominantly working class district. Incapable of identifying the class nature of the attack on public education, developing a strategy to save it is beyond their capacity.
The West Contra Costa Community for Quality Education (WCCCQE) does not ignore or hide from the fact that the ruling class, their apologists and lackeys are conducting a one sided class war on public education. From Washington to Sacramento, from Wall Street to the local Chambers of Commerce the top five percent has abandoned public education. How quickly, one may wonder, would public education become a priority of presidents, politicians, CEOs, lawyers, bankers and speculators sent their own children to public schools in working class districts?
The WCCCQE understands that the ruling elite care not one iota about the education of working class youth. Their concern is, and always has been, the maximization of profit, by any means necessary. At the current juncture of the economy the education of our children no longer serves that end. If the opposite were the case resources would flow like water down the mighty Mississippi.
If working class people want our children to have quality education from pre-school thru college, including neighborhood schools to the secondary level, we must turn this one sided class war into a two sided struggle, by fighting back. The ruling class method of warfare is to drain the treasury, rob education, abandon social services and divide working class communities against themselves. The working class method of struggle, conversely, requires building solidarity, organizing our communities and workplaces, educating ourselves, and employing tactics of united mass labor and community direct action.
To win quality education for all we need to take this struggle to the next level. United mass actions have power to force changes in priorities and assure resources are provided. As a community we need to develop appropriate tactics to ignite a mass movement to win our goals. The following actions are proposed for the communities consideration as they will require serious organizing, careful and detailed planning.
1) District wide, statewide and nationwide actions up to and including, but not limited to: student walkouts, teacher-staff-student strikes, teach-ins and occupations of schools slated for closure.
2) Boycott of standardized testing. The ruling class won’t provide resources, we should not provide the data they use to justify closing poor performing schools.
3) Place elementary and secondary schools under democratic parent-teacher-staff control.
The powers that be count on us to surrender. We might do well to borrow a line from the working class balladeer Bruce Springsteen, “No Retreat, baby, No Surrender”.
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