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

The Fight for Quality Education

May 1, 2023

The Superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) recently told students who were concerned about upcoming staff and program cuts that they should advocate to Michigan legislators for a more equitable school funding.

In Michigan, an advocacy group for public education, the Michigan Education Justice Committee (MEJC), has called upon teachers, parents, and students to sign a petition calling on state legislators to ensure increased investment in public education—and to meet directly with politicians in Lansing so they know how important resources are for Michigan’s school aged children. These requests came after it was revealed that more than 90% of Michigan students attend schools without sufficient funding and that fully closing the funding gap would take an additional $4.5 billion a year.

But it’s impossible to attain equitable funding in a system that isn’t equitable. In a system where governments (in the case of Michigan, where the legislature is Democratic party controlled) can, year after year, find money to give to corporations in the form of tax breaks and incentives, at the same time they tell school officials they have to “balance their budgets”—that is, work with not enough, or even less.

The same goes on at the federal level. Didn’t the federal government provide billions of dollars in Covid relief funding for the schools, only to snatch it and other social funding away, when clearly it is needed?

Did these elected officials in Congress tell the Pentagon and weapons systems manufacturers to “balance their budgets” and work with less? No! When Congress passed a record-breaking 858 billion dollar military budget in December, most Democrats voted for it. That same Congress allotted only about ONE TENTH of that to spend on the education of nearly 50 million school aged children!

The most important function of government in this system is to protect the interests of billionaires, the capitalist class. And so, it’s a dead end appealing to elected government officials to do the right thing when it comes to equitable, generous funding for public education.

It took militant social movements of workers to even bring about the funding for universal public education in the first place in this country. It will take a massive fight again—but this time, with the goals of taking over society completely, and running it in our interests.