• Defend public education!
• Rescind the Central Falls teacher firings!
• Oppose all school closures!
In February, all 74 teachers and 19 support staff at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island were fired. Within days, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced a list of 35 so-called underperforming schools where the jobs and contracts of teachers are directly threatened. Mayor Thomas Menino and Superintendent Carol R. Johnson announced the same day that teachers at six “underperforming” city schools would be forced to reapply for their jobs, and that five school principals would be reassigned to different positions.
The Central Falls firings were immediately hailed by the Obama administration. As the World Socialist Web Site commented March 4, “No US president has so openly supported the mass victimization of workers since Ronald Reagan fired the PATCO air traffic controllers in 1981. Obama’s intervention against the teachers at Central Falls High School is motivated by similarly reactionary aims.”
In the last month the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to send layoff notices to 5,200 teachers. In San Francisco, 900 teachers and staff are facing layoffs. The Kansas City, Missouri school district intends to close 26 of the city’s 61 schools, firing nearly one-fourth of its employees.
Among the worst hit is the already impoverished city of Detroit, Michigan. The city’s emergency financial director Robert Bobb said he would close 45 schools by June and another 13 by 2012. District teachers have already been saddled with a $10,000 pay cut over two years, in a sell-out contract negotiated by the Detroit Federation of Teachers.
At both the local and national level, the unions have demonstrated their willingness to work in partnership with Obama’s assault on teachers, the targeted schools and their students. The defense of public education demands a struggle against both the Democratic Party and its apologists in the trade union bureaucracy. The meeting will discuss a socialist perspective on which such a struggle must be based.
ISSE/SEP Public Meeting
Saturday, April 3, 3 p.m.
Administrative classroom, second floor
820 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139