Mass Protests Against School Cutbacks

April 29, 2003

Within the last few months, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have come out to protest state cutbacks in the public schools.

Last month, for example, 25,000 people rallied in Olympia, Washington in a demonstration organized by the state teachers' union. Similarly, more than 20,000 people recently marched in Kentucky and another 20,000 in Oklahoma to protest proposed cuts in funding. In addition to mass rallies, parents, students and teachers in at least 20 states are organizing public meetings, letter-writing and petition campaigns and many other struggles to defend the public schools.

These protests will certainly grow in the coming months as state governments are planning even more cuts in public education:

- 25,000 teachers in California have gotten layoff notices as a result of cuts in state funding.

- New York state is proposing to slash its education budget by $1.25 billion dollars. Already New York City is laying off 3,200 school employees while Buffalo is preparing to suspend prekindergarten, and cut another 600 teaching jobs.

- Birmingham, Alabama school district is planning to eliminate 550 jobs, close nine schools and practically eliminate summer school.

- Boston Public Schools are closing five schools, increasing class size by 3 students at all grade levels and implementing a 10% across-the-board cut for all schools

- Detroit plans to close 16 schools servicing more than 6,000 students.

- Houston school district is carrying out its 4th consecutive year of cutbacks, including eliminating another 367 jobs.

And the list goes on and on.

The public school system is one of the great achievements of our people and our country. Yet, today the capitalist government - at all levels - is running our schools into the ground by refusing to properly fund them. Everyone knows that the country has more than enough resources to not only maintain but dramatically improve the public schools. The people must continue to come out in struggles to demand that the government fulfill its responsibilities and increase funding for public education.