The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Detroit Teachers Are “Sick” and Tired!

Jan 18, 2016

After years of worsening conditions in the Detroit Public Schools, politicians are finally starting to pay attention–because teachers are raising hell!

Bad conditions were the excuse for a series of state take-overs and governor-appointed emergency managers stretching back to 1999. These take-overs and emergency managers were pushed by Republican and Democratic governors alike. But under each and every take-over, conditions for students and teachers got worse.

After years of school closings and teacher layoffs, classrooms regularly have more than 50 students in them. With maintenance and custodial crews slashed to the bone, buildings are falling apart–teachers and parents have posted photos of buckets of brown water leaking from ceilings, torn-up floors, mushrooms growing along walls.

Teachers had finally had enough. Several weeks ago, groups of teachers began holding “sick-outs,” closing schools. On Monday, January 11, teacher sick-outs closed 64 buildings–over half of the district. On that same day, more than 100 teachers, joined by parents and students, braved the cold to protest these horrendous conditions. School closings continued on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Faced with this groundswell of anger, state politicians moved ... to try to make sick-outs illegal! They had the nerve to accuse teachers of hurting the children–when their policies have been destroying education in Detroit for years!

Some politicians, like Mayor Mike Duggan, took note of the horrible conditions, while urging teachers to stay in the classrooms.

NO, the only reason the politicians are paying attention to the conditions is the sickouts and protests!

Detroit teachers have absolutely the right idea. And parents and students are right to join them.