The widespread closure of public schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic have put a spotlight on their importance not just in educating children, but providing nutrition, mental and physical health support, and critical services to the neighborhoods and communities in which they’re located. But just because they’re closed doesn’t mean they’re not under attack: as we’ve seen happen in places like New Orleans and Puerto Rico some policymakers are using this crisis to push privatization in a moment when it’s more difficult than ever to mobilize students, parents, and educators against such an agenda. And across the country, well before the disaster of COVID-19, many communities were already suffering from the crisis of underfunded schools, racist school discipline and policing, and a systematic disinvestment of public services. Our public schools aren’t failing: they’re being failed.
While we must be responsive in the here-and-now to the pressing need of mutual aid and the defense of our schools, this crisis is also an opportunity for us to reimagine public education from the ground up and build the social movements needed to make a more just and equitable public school system a reality. Every child deserves a well-funded sustainable community school that’s the beating heart of their neighborhood.
Join us for musical performances and a wide ranging conversation about the danger and hope of this moment from students, parents and educators, how people are forging new bonds through struggle, and what you can do to make sure we emerge from the crisis stronger than we entered it.