CHICAGO, IL, July 11 — Progressive Labor Party and angry teachers, students, parents and workers came out to Kennedy-King College for one of the three planned Chicago Public School (CPS) budget meetings for the 2012-2013 school year. The racist proposed budget didn’t do much of anything to meet the needs of children in Chicago, just like all other school budgets in working-class communities. It was evident that the budget in Chicago, like many places around the U.S., had significantly less money to use for our students.
The imperialist needs of the U.S. ruling class to maintain oil profits in the Middle East has led to millions of deaths of our working-class brothers and sisters in Iraq and Afghanistan and the wholesale destruction of social services and education domestically. The presentation lasted about thirty minutes, and the board then announced that there would be two hours for the public to speak and ask questions.
The auditorium was ringed by about 12 CPS and Kennedy-King security officers. One by one, teachers and parents and school workers came up to the microphone to angrily denounce the cuts. Teacher after teacher told of over 160 schools with no libraries in them, while Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard makes over $250,000 a year, plus bonuses. A janitor said they should stop layoffs, reporting that the remaining janitors are being over-worked, which leads to unhealthy and unsanitary conditions for our children.
Parents spoke about the CPS’s disrespect of the teachers and the students. Our children’s schools don’t have heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer as temperatures reach 100 degrees outside and 110 degrees inside. There’s no money for arts and science programs, but plenty for Chicago KKKops and metal detectors to make the schools resemble a prison.
Parents and community members saw that the funding for local public schools goes down but money for the failed charter school system goes up. As they took the mic to address the racist school board, almost every speaker had CHALLENGE in their hand, received from PL members outside the door.
We talked about how capitalism, no matter who is in charge, can never truly educate our children and fulfill the needs of the working class; only communism can. One comrade exposed the CPS’s attacks:
Not only will these cuts hurt every child attending a public school in the city of Chicago, but these budget cuts are racist. Is there one school on the Gold Coast [rich area of Chicago] getting a budget decrease or that has no library or proper heating…No! Are any of your children in any of these charter schools or any public schools on the South or West Side?...No! And why are 95% of the charter schools and school closings on the Southside and the Westside? Does it have something to do with the fact that the Westside and the Southside are majority black and Latino? So this school board is RACIST!
We brought a communist message to the meeting that wasn’t there before. It was no longer about just increasing spending on public school children or supporting this tax or that candidate in the dead-end electoral system.
Instead, the community heard the message that if you truly want change that you must smash capitalism and fight for communism. Joining PLP is the first step toward a society that educates every child and provides them with a safe environment and a better future in which to grow.