May 26, 2003
On May 23, the first school district in the state of Oregon shut down its schools, three weeks early, for lack of funds. Eighty-four districts are expected to follow suit, with six more having already cut out days of instruction to save money.
This is one result of the recent 10% cut in state funding for public schools. Other results were teacher pay cuts and elimination of money for after-school programs.
In other states, where legislators also claimed budget deficits leave them no choice, the cuts have come in the form of less instruction, fewer books, more children per classroom, repairs delayed or cancelled, aides fired.
Although the current administration claims, "No Child [will be] Left Behind," the reality is that, even without cuts, most U.S. public schools have been leaving children behind for decades and are leaving them even further behind today.
Every study of education across the globe ranks the U.S., the world's wealthiest nation, shamefully low. Millions of youngsters leave high school – when they don't leave before graduation – barely literate, scarcely knowing their own history let alone math formulas and scientific facts that are standards in the curricula of the school systems of other industrialized nations.
The vast majority of children have a useless education, while the tiny group of children whose parents run society gain a very good education at expensive private schools or public schools in the wealthiest suburbs.
This class education may be perfect for the rulers of society, but workers have every reason to insist society must pay collectively for a quality education for all children.