The Spark

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

Going Back
—to Unsafe Schools

Sep 13, 2021

After 550 days without in-person schooling for much of the country’s student population, especially kids from working class, poor and rural areas, children went back to in-person school the last week of August and the first week in September. But never fear, if they wore a mask, everything was going to be OK. Or so we were told.

BUT, what about the districts where there were no buses or bus drivers to pick children up to get them to school; where there weren’t enough teachers, so students had to occupy themselves for blocks of time, or be doubled up in other classrooms where there was already no social distancing; where there was poor ventilation in their school buildings; where schools ended up closing because there were COVID outbreaks and exposure in the very first week of classes?

No, these problems, with more to come, are the direct result of the fact that for all practical purposes, little was done in the last year and a half to address all of what would be needed to make schools safe, for students and teachers and staff during this pandemic.

Instead, trillions of dollars were doled out to the pharmaceutical companies and corporations, with banks making profit off of administering these public funds, to make sure that corporations and big businesses didn’t “suffer” from the pandemic. And in the meantime, school systems, many of which were already broken BEFORE the pandemic, were made worse by it.

This capitalist system’s primary goal is profit, not human beings. And so today, if the push is on masking as the solution to opening up the schools, we shouldn’t believe that it’s to make kids safe. It’s because these same corporations and businesses want kids back in school so working-class women can go to work in their plants and offices and restaurants and hotels and hospitals. These workers are essential to corporate profits, and so, who cares if our children are expendable—cognitively, socially, and yes, even physically.

What more proof do we need that this system needs to be replaced by one where human beings, especially children, come first? And it’s the working class, the collective knowledge and labor of teachers, parents, medical professionals, heating and cooling operators and construction workers, who know how to make that happen.