The question of whether schools should re-open or stay with distance learning is an open question with legitimate points of debate as well as disagreement over “the science”. Some parents, amongst others, even are saying lack of public school indoctrination is tantamount to child-abuse, which is ironic coming from those who usually complain about the wokeness being taught to children now-a-days or the “social justice” obsession of the credentialed teaching class, as can be seen by the demands of the United Teachers of Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Unified School District as noted in their propaganda piece entitled “The Same Storm, but Different boats: The Safe and Equitable Conditions for Starting LAUSD in 2020-21”* complete with demands for unequal racial considerations and call for “equity and justice”:
“The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States underscores the deep equity and justice challenges arising from our profoundly racist, intensely unequal society. Unlike other countries that recognize protecting lives is the key to protecting livelihoods, the United States has chosen to prioritize profits over people. The Trump administration’s attempt to force people to return to work on a large scale depends on restarting physical schools so parents have childcare.
“This document outlines the equity lens that we must use to view both today’s emergency and tomorrow’s recovery.”
The demand for “equitable” approach is nothing less than the demand for unequal treatment based on race. After all, they declare that the children are in “the same storm, but different boats”.
“‘We’re all in this together’ is a common slogan during this crisis. What this platitude fails to acknowledge is that, while we may all be in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. The United States is at an unprecedented moment of overlap between a global pandemic, deep economic recession, and an uprising for Black Lives that exposes the structural race and class fissures that have resulted in higher unemployment, exposure, infection, and death rates in Black, Brown, and poor communities.
“Unsurprisingly, the data is increasingly showing that there is a ‘disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups.’ BIPOC communities are more likely to experience economic and social factors that increase risk of illness and death. Below are just some examples:
“[Various statements of statistical differences between Whites and non-Whites]
“Because of the forces of structural racism, Blacks, Latinx, and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County are dying of COVID-19 at twice the rate of white residents. Residents of high-poverty areas were almost four times as likely to die of COVID-19 compared to those who lived in wealthier areas. The effect on human lives is quantifiable: the disproportionate effect of coronavirus means that at least 700 Blacks, Latinx, and Asian Americans died because of structural racism that puts them more at risk compared to white people. Nearly 1,000 people living in high poverty areas died because of class and income inequality that puts them more at risk compared to people living in wealthy areas.”
Because “White Supremacy” and “Institutional Privilege” grants White students immunity to disease by some demonic touch of that maligning mystical miasma of malevolent malfeasance of “Whiteness”?
Note also that “BIPOC” (i.e. “Black, Indigenous, and Persons/People of Color) includes those of East Asian decent (though clearly lower in the hierarchy), in other words everyone who isn’t White. Notice that only by lumping in all non-White students can they declare non-Whites harder hit than White students, for if they really broke down the racial groups, the narrative doesn’t hold.
This usage of “BIPOC” of particular not since only about one in ten students in the LAUSD is White. So, rather than focusing on some disadvantages minority, this scholastic/justice segregation in the schools is intended to exclude a small minority of students and treat them as less important. Yet not putting children’s education in the hands of these racially obsessed “equity and justice” teachers is somehow child abuse?
So, what are the teachers’ demands of “social justice” necessary to defeat Corona-chan in the schools?
The demands on the Federal government, including “Medicare for all”:
- Federal Bailout: Although the CARES and HEROES Acts provided funding for K-12, both fell far short of what would be needed to rescue districts and state and local governments. And as of publication, no money has been dedicated to address the specific needs of students with disabilities, which in LAUSD annually requires nearly $1 billion in general fund transfers due to the federal government’s failure to meet its IDEA funding promise. Many experts are calling for at least $500 billion in additional federal assistance this year, and a commitment to continue support over several years.
- Fully Fund Title I: Congress has perpetually underfunded Title I, ignoring the growth in student enrollment, the increasing costs of education, and the reality that schools have become the de facto centers of their respective communities. In California, specifically, last year the Title I funding gap was $3,400 per Title I eligible student — the largest gap in the nation. This funding is foundational to meeting the needs of our students, and Title I was persistently underfunded well before the pandemic. Congress must appropriate substantial emergency and ongoing resources through the Title I program if we are to have a solid floor in which to provide education during and after the pandemic.
- Fully Fund IDEA: Since the passage of the Individuals With Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act in 1975, Congress has never come close to allocating the 40% funding promised to ensure a free and appropriate public education for students with disabilities. Instead, funding has consistently hovered around 16%. In early May, 25 senators wrote a letter voicing their support for IDEA’s full implementation at this time in conjunction with an additional appropriation of $12 billion in IDEA funding to ensure school districts across the country are able to meet the needs of students with disabilities. To date, that letter has been entirely ignored by the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and no such funding has been officially proposed or discussed in the Senate.
- Medicare for All: Coronavirus shows definitively why we need Medicare For All. People fearful of crippling medical bills avoid seeking testing and treatment, leading to undetected COVID-19 cases and a likely increase in death rates thanks to people delaying medical care until they reach a critical condition. The boundless greed of the for-profit health industry, combined with this country’s deeply ingrained racism, has led to race-based health disparities that have resulted in excess deaths especially among Black communities long before the pandemic further widened the health gap. That same greed has resulted in Gilead Sciences pricing a five-day course of Remdesivir at $3,120 — despite having received $70.5 million in public funding for the development of the coronavirus drug.”
The state-level demands, including a “wealth tax”:
- The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2020, aka Schools and Communities First: This proposition on the November 2020 ballot will increase funding to education and local government by reassessing property tax of commercial and industrial properties valued at $3 million or more from 1978 assessments to current assessment values. Projected to add $7.5 billion to $12 billion a year with 40% allocated to schools and 60% added to local governments.
- Wealth Tax: A new tax on unrealized capital gains to California billionaires only, 1% a year until capital gains taxes are met. This would generate an estimated $10 billion a year initially.
- Millionaire Tax: Add a 1% surtax on incomes over $1 million a year, and 3% for over $3 million a year. This would generate an estimated $4.5 billion-plus a year.
The demands on local governance, including defunding the police and stopping charter schools.
- Defund Police: Police violence is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue. We must shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.
- Housing Security: There is no “safer at home” for those who do not have a home. Students need stability, and cities have the power to pass ordinances to prevent evictions and provide rental relief funds. Instead of just one-time relief, as was passed by the LA City Council in June 2020, housing can be a human right assisted by the state. Additionally, as Project Roomkey has demonstrated, sheltering the homeless community is a matter of political will, not scarce resources. Over 15,000 homeless students in LAUSD need permanent shelter.
- Paid Sick Leave: Parents should not have to decide between staying home with a sick child or going to work in order to be paid. All cities in LAUSD’s boundaries should follow LA City Council’s lead and require ten additional sick days, and expand those sick days to require it of all businesses.
- Charter Moratorium: Privately operated, publicly funded charter schools drain resources from district schools — and many have “double-dipped” during this crisis by taking federal small business bailout loans even though state funding did not decline this school year. In addition, colocation adds students to campuses when we need to reduce the number of students to allow for physical distancing.
- Financial Support for Undocumented Students and Families: California’s more than 2 million undocumented residents are by and large ineligible for state and federal benefits. Even if their children are US citizens, in the era of ICE raids and mass deportations, many undocumented parents are too fearful to apply for benefits for their children. California undocumented immigrants disproportionately pay taxes without benefits, paying an estimated $4.5 billion in federal taxes and $2.5 billion in California state taxes in 2018. Immigrant students and workers, so vital to our schools and our economy, must be supported during this crisis.
This is what you get when “social justice” is the same things as “education”.
The full manifesto by the United Teachers of Los Angeles can be read below:
* Footnote/Endnote references not shown for clarity of reading.