Monday, May 7, 2018

Taxing Homeowners Will not Fix Public Education

West Virginia Showed the Way. Source
Below is a letter I wrote that was published in the letters to the editor section of my local paper, the San Leandro Times. I wrote it in response to a representative of the San Leandro Teachers Association CTA/NEA who made an appeal in the letters to the editor the previous week for voters to support a parcel tax for the schools. This is a disastrous position and will not solve what is a national crisis in public education.  Not only is a parcel tax not a solution, a small community like mine and millions of others, cannot drive back the capitalist offensive in isolation.  I was limited to 300 words which is not easy for me as readers of this blog must know by now. I will be commenting further on the local education struggles in another post. Richard Mellor

Taxing Homeowners Will not Fix Public Education

John sherr’s call for a parcel tax to “build upon” the “quiet renaissance” in the SL schools reflects the conservative approach of today’s union leadership.  Sherr boasts of the collaborative relationship between the teachers’ union and the district management. This Team Concept approach, working as a partner with management as opposed to confronting them as an organized independent force, is a major contributor in the decline of union power and living standards.

Now Sherr, the SLTA leadership and management are joining forces to increase taxes on workers and the middle class to place a local band aid over a nationally failing education system.

Recent events have shown us what works and what doesn’t. In West Virginia, the official union leadership was brushed aside by a movement from below as education workers struck in a state where striking is illegal winning wage increases for themselves and all state workers.  Teachers from Oklahoma to Arizona have been in the streets in unprecedented numbers shutting down state schools and for more funding.

All school districts will be slashing education further in the coming downturn as school board representatives carry out the dictates of big business.

Building on the recent events of mass action and linking with other forces fighting austerity is what will make real improvements in education. Building the movement to combat these assaults on working people will not be made easier by taxing ourselves.

There is no shortage of money as the $800 billion offense budget or the $786 million one billionaire made in 2017 shows.

The California Teachers Association to which the SLTA is affiliated, has 330,000 members and is part of the National Education Association with 3 million members.

This is where our power lies, fighting from a position of strength, not in joint ventures with management.

Richard Mellor

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