public schools and privatization

Mike Friedman mikedf at
Sun Jul 7 14:16:21 MDT 2002

Boy, are you off your fucking rocker on this one. Public schools are a gain 
of the working class. In the early 20th century, the labor movement took up 
the demand for a public education. I wonder why? Education is a function 
that MUST be socialized, to guarantee everyone the right to schooling. 
Schooling  is not something that should be left in the hands of profiteers. 
If you really want to see educational apartheid, then go ahead and defend 
privatization schemes such as vouchers. Vouchers won't give a quality 
education to poor kids, they'll give them a bottom-line education in 
private and religious schools (whose socialization processes aren't 
reactionary, right?), while wealthier kids' parents will pay extra for 
better quality. At the same time, vouchers will provide further 
justification for cutbacks in public schools. Further, private schools 
offer far less possibility for communities to exercise any control over 
quality or content. I'm really surprised to hear you defending for-profit 
educational institutions. I taught in public high schools for a decade, my 
son is a student in a public elementary school, and yes, they suck. But, do 
you know how the Canadian government did away with its national health 
program? They slashed and slashed until the health program became a 
self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Then folks began demanding its 
elimination and turning to private health care, HMOs, etc.That's been 
happening for quite some time, at least since the Reagan years, with public 
schools. As Marxists, our job isn't to defend privatization schemes, but to 
demand that public schools do their job and guarantee a quality education 
to our kids. What is this asinine bullshit about public schools being "an 
instrument of the enemy class"? Every fucking public institution in this 
society is imbued with and perpetuates ruling class ideology. Look at the 
hospitals. Look at nursing homes. Should we advocate doing away with public 
hospitals and favor vouchers, so patients can go to private hospitals? The 
Militant is more correct on this one than you are.


>Subject: 'The Militant' joins liberals in denouncing Supreme Court voucher 
>All its hyper-ventilating super-proletarian ultra-rrrevolutionary rhetoric
>did not stop the Militant, newspaper of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party,
>from joining the bourgeois chorus of liberal dismay against the U.S. Supreme
>Court decision upholding the Cleveland school voucher plan.
>To Marxists familiar with U.S. inner-city schools, the idea that
>"Communists" should call on working people to "defend" these pre-prison
>institutions must seem obscene.
>Also obscene is the Militant's contemptuous rejection of the anguish working
>people with children go through in this society trying to obtain some sort
>of education for them. "Some have been swayed into thinking that through
>individual actions, their child can rise above the lot."
>The Militant is quite wrong about this. It is not "some" that have been
>swayed in to thinking this, all parents who bother to investigate
>educational choices in U.S. society know it for a fact. U.S. school systems
>are highly unequal; and parents can and do buy their way into better
>schools, either by living in more expensive neighborhoods or by paying
>private school tuition.
>The basis for the widespread support for school vouchers in the Black and
>Hispanic communities is precisely the reality of unequal education for their
>Marxists should not "defend" public schools in the United States. It is an
>instrument of the enemy class, designed to perpetuate national oppression
>and class exploitation. Nor should they denigrate or dismiss efforts by
>Black and Hispanic parents, and other working people, to try to get a better
>education for their children.

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