The Educational Association of Worcester (EAW) and Worcester Education Justice Alliance (WEJA) hosted a community meeting at Doherty High School about the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) receiving an $18 million budget increase. I joined 80 educators and community members with fellow members of Worcester Independent Socialist Group (ISG) to discuss how these funds should be allocated to benefit WPS students and teachers.
Years of underfunding and cuts to education spending has left many educators struggling to give their students their best as classroom sizes grow, funding for materials becomes scarcer, and pay for new educators stagnates.
The workshop group I spoke with agreed on common demands to use the money to hire more educators, decrease class sizes, give educators the living wages they deserve, provide more emotional and social training to educators, and fund more after-school programs for students to provide a better learning environment. The message was clear throughout the groups: our educators needed these reforms to better prepare the next generation for success.
As a WPS graduate, Teamster, and member of ISG, I put forward the need for this effort to take direct action when needed. Actions like the rallies the EAW is organizing for at the Boston State House on March 2 and further community meetings in Worcester are needed to strengthen the union and win real gains. We can look at the #RedForEd movement across the country and the West Virginia teachers strike to learn how to win reforms for our educators and students. We need to support the EAW and WEJA in their fight for a more just education system that can undo the damage of perpetual underfunding under neoliberalism!
Evren Pallares Ó Laoghaire
via the Internet