Jun 23, 2014
Recently, a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge declared that all sorts of job protections for teachers, including tenure, are "unconstitutional.” According to the judge, such job security laws harm low-income students by allowing incompetent teachers to remain in the classroom.
This is complete nonsense. This decision does not aim to improve conditions in low-income neighborhoods in any manner. It aims only to threaten the teachers – all of them – and to reduce the amount of money put in to these schools.
Education is poor in low income neighborhoods – this is certain. But this is, first and foremost, because for years not enough money has been put into them. Financial resources committed to education have continuously been lowered in the U.S., and California ranks at the very bottom of all states in its education expenditures per student.
Public schools in well-to-do districts get much more money than do schools in poor areas. And this means that, in poor districts, more and more students are crammed into small classrooms, buildings are left in disrepair, school infrastructure crumbles, teaching supplies are not available or sufficient, arts classes and after-school programs are cancelled, nurses and counselors are eliminated, and so on. Teachers certainly did not cause this mess in working class districts.
Yet the lawsuit, on which the California judge ruled, aimed only at the willy-nilly firing of teachers. The suit was brought to the Los Angeles court by an organization called “Students Matter.” Behind this sham organization there are millionaires and billionaires like David Welch, Eli Broad, and Tammy and Bill Crown. Under the pretense of helping low-income students, these rich and powerful people are pursuing their self-serving agenda of slashing income and benefits of teachers, reducing money to schools and promoting their own businesses.
Welch, the millionaire behind the lawsuit, invests in charter schools and in Pearson, the giant company that publishes text books and tests. And he financially supports “Students First,” a political lobby that aims at getting rid of public school education, replacing it with schools run by “private enterprise.”
Many school administrators and politicians have been serving the cause of the rich. During the trial, the Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, John Deasy, testified against teachers’ tenure and other job protections. The same John Deasy has spearheaded an unbelievably wasteful program of buying tens of thousands of Apple iPads at inflated prices. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is no different: he has praised this court decision that attacked all teachers. These officials act like a sales staff at the service of big corporations like Apple.
No, teachers did not cause this mess. Capitalists and their lackeys – government officials, district administrators and the courts – did. And they will keep doing it until working people take up the fight for their children’s education, joining with the teachers under attack.