Public Education Justice Alliance of Minnesota
We are a grassroots community organization of teachers, parents, students, and community members dedicated to defending and supporting a fully funded, just, equitable, and democratic system of public education. Public education is an essential foundation of any truly democratic and just society.
We aim to be a campaigning voice against the immediate budget cuts, pro-corporate “reforms,” and other attacks on public education. At the same time, we will link the day-to-day struggles to a broader vision of what public education should look like, and attempt to build a movement around the following goals:
- Ensure free, high-quality education for all from pre-school through college. Stop the budget cuts, layoffs, school closures, and dramatically reduces class sizes.
- Guarantee full and equitable funding of all schools, for every community by restructure school funding to shift the burden away from property taxes and create a truly progressive tax system.
- End corporate influence and privatization of public schools, including moratorium on further charter schools
- Confront institutional racism in the schools, reverse the process of re-segregation. Transform our schools into centers of racial and social justice.
- Replace the focus on high stakes testing with democratically determined criteria for success, linked to local community needs. End “Race to the Top” and other competitive grant programs.
- Defend tenure, seniority, and other union rights. End merit pay plans and systems linking teacher evaluations to test scores. A strong, democratic teachers’ union is a cornerstone of quality public education.
- Institute democratic control of schools through elected committees of teachers, parents, students, and the wider community. Ensure culturally relevant education, emphasizing social responsibility, by transforming our schools into centers of the democratic life in our communities.
Our definition of democracy is not to be confused with that of the current “school-choice” advocates, or corporate reformers of education whose policies have led to greater inequalities and a more segregated society. Our vision for democratizing public schools is best expressed by the Municipal Secretary of Education in Porto Alegre, Brazil;
“to democratize is to construct, with participation, a project of education that has social quality, is liberating and transformative, where the school is a laboratory of practice, exercise and achievement of rights, of formation of autonomous, critical and creative historic subjects, full citizens, identified with ethical values, willing to construct a social project that has as a center of attention the practice of justice, of freedom, of respect and fraternal relationships among men and women and a harmonic relationship with nature.”.”