Teachers’ unions in cities throughout the country joined with socialist organizations to demand more funding for government schools and an end to “systemic racism” before they agree to in-school instruction.
The groups dubbed Monday a “National Day of Resistance,” as they demonstrated in cities such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.
Today is the day for Resistance, but we do so with heavy hearts. When we talk about health and safety of our students, let’s be mindful of other pandemics we have been suffering for generations. We gather at CTU HQ at 11 a.m. #CalebReed #DemandSafeSchools #EdEquityOrElse @GKMC18 pic.twitter.com/bPtYDFlCF6
— ChicagoTeachersUnion (@CTULocal1) August 3, 2020
If you want to help build rank-and-file safety committees among teachers, parents and students that will prepare a national teachers strike to stop school reopening, contact the World Socialist Web Site Educators Newsletter email@example.com#RefusetoReturn#DemandSafeSchools pic.twitter.com/2m9h0PdtmI
— World Socialist Web Site (@WSWS_Updates) August 3, 2020
“I think that the Black Lives Matter [movement], in conjunction with the pandemic, it kind of illuminated all of the inequalities that take place in the black community with all of the lack of resources, the disinvestment in communities of color,” Nina Hike, a high school chemistry teacher in Chicago, said, according to NBC News.
“And then, now just the lack of resources even to get [an] education,” she added. “Nothing about being in a pandemic is normal. Nothing about dealing with racism is normal.”
— Sarah4Justice (@Sarah4Justice) August 3, 2020
The unions and social justice groups created a list of “demands” they say must be met for them to return to in-school instruction:
- No reopening until the scientific data supports it
- Police-free schools
- All schools must be supported to function as community schools with adequate numbers of counselors and nurses and community/parent outreach workers
- Safe conditions including lower class size, PPE, cleaning, testing, and other key protocols
- Support for our communities and families including canceling rents and mortgages, a moratorium on evictions/foreclosures, providing direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed, and other critical social needs
- Moratorium on new charter or voucher programs and standardized testing
- Massive infusion of federal money to support the reopening funded by taxing billionaires and Wall Street
- Equitable access to online learning
— Orlando DSA 🌹🍊 (@Orlando_DSA) August 3, 2020
— Colorado NLG (@ColoradoNlg) August 3, 2020
“We have a duty to be anti-racist educators,” Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said, according to NBC News.
“Everywhere there’s systemic, structural, institutional racism, it’s our job to root it out from its very foundations,” she continued. “That means looking at the institutions, programs and policies to really break those, those barriers down. Our students are asking for that and it is incumbent upon us to do that work.”