The Spark

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

Los Angeles Schools Reopen ... Sort of

Apr 26, 2021

On April 13, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) opened the doors of 61 elementary schools and 11 early education centers to students—after a complete shutdown for more than a year. District officials are promising that all of the district’s 1,400 campuses will be opened by the end of May.

The problem is, no reasonable person can call what’s going on a “reopening” of schools. Children are in class for only three hours, from 8 to 11 a.m. There is after-school care until 4 p.m.—but that is also less than what schools offered before the pandemic, when after-school supervision went until 6 p.m.

No wonder that, in the schools that have opened, a big majority of the parents have opted to continue with “remote learning.” Many parents mentioned the risk of students bringing the virus home as a reason for their decision not to send their children back to school.

There is no doubt that district officials could have done a lot more, especially since the district is supposed to be getting $5 billion in extra state and federal funding, specifically for making the schools safe to open. Instead, district officials have come up with a plan that’s nothing but a show, and a short one at that—the school year is ending in less than two months.

A large majority of the LAUSD’s 465,000 students are from working-class families, and 80% qualify as low-income. For most of these working-class students, they are condemned to school via the internet, which has simply meant getting no education for a whole year. LAUSD’s so-called “reopening” plan guarantees that working-class children will continue to be cheated of an education.