NEWARK, NJ, June 4 — The attacks on students and education workers in the Newark Public Schools are continuing. As previously reported in CHALLENGE, there have been budget cuts, school closings and dual locations of charter schools. The newest attack comes in the form of layoffs of about 200 teachers and support staff. These workers were notified a month before school ended that their positions will be eliminated next fall because of budget cuts.
These attacks are part of a larger, nationwide plan to “reshape education in the United States and put this country on track to be an educational, economic, military, and diplomatic global leader” (cfr.org — U.S. Education Reform and National Security). In other words, the ruling class will continue to use the education system to prepare the working class to fight in imperialist wars and maintain U.S. domination throughout the world.
In response to the latest attacks, a newly formed caucus in the Newark Teachers Union organized a demonstration of over 200 education workers, community activists, parents and students outside the Newark Board of Education. This call for worker-parent-student unity reflected the struggle within the caucus to develop class consciousness. Through weekly caucus meetings, members and friends of Progressive Labor Party have fought for all caucus members to understand that an attack on one is an attack on all.
Now the real work begins. As our base has expanded, the bosses’ attacks have given us many more opportunities to engage with our co-workers, students and parents. In one school, a PLP member struggled with her co-workers and their initial response to “lay low.” As individuals, she pointed out, we are more susceptible to the bosses’ attacks. Only when we unite do we realize the potential and strength of the working class.
By fighting these attacks against the schools, we will organize, build our CHALLENGE networks and recruit new members. The struggle continues.