Let's be clear that the school choice push is not about what's best for the kids; it's about money and reactionary, segregationist ideology.
ByADAM KELLER | Published onMarch 13, 2023
r. Lois Weiner spoke with Adam Keller and Jacob Morrison on The Valley Labor Report on February 4, 2023 about the multifront war on public education. Dr. Weiner is a longtime educator, activist, and scholar. She has worked as a researcher, a teacher, and an education professor. She's the author of regular articles and multiple books, specializing in urban teacher education and teacher unionism, all with a commitment to social justice and to the rank and file. This conversation was inspired by Dr. Weiner's January 11, 2023 article in Truthout - Labor and Education Activists Must Challenge Private Tech.
As a former educator, Adam believes every educator and ally should be reading Dr. Weiner's work because of her sharp analysis of the intersection of labor and public schools. He had the following introduction to the conversation:
"We've seen a lot of discussion lately in right-wing media and among Republican officials about school choice. Warring with public schools and universities, and the unions representing their workers, appears to be a key component of Ron DeSantis's presidential campaign. We expect political attacks on public education in Alabama to ramp up and it's important that educators, alongside the working class families served by public schools, be informed and be organized. One thing I want to acknowledge is that we know public schools have their challenges and their flaws. We know there are legitimate problems to be solved. But the solutions won't come from the very same corporate and reactionary forces who've played a major role in causing these problems. We're asked to believe that introducing more profiteering off our children will somehow result in less corruption and better quality, but the evidence, of course, says otherwise.
Let's be clear that the school choice push is not about what's best for the kids. It's about money and reactionary, segregationist ideology. The alternative is that we demand great public schools for every child and every family in every community. It's not just about your family or my family, it's about the public as a whole!"
The conversation with Dr. Lois Weiner included how technology's role in privatization goes under the radar and how it fits within broader threats to public education. They also discussed fights over vouchers and curriculum, and how educators and union leaders are (and are not) responding to these challenges. Dr. Weiner also had high praise for The Valley Labor Report, which we truly appreciate!
You can listen to the entire interview here:
Adam Keller is a union stagehand with the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 900 and co-host of The Valley Labor Report. He is a former high school history teacher and spent several years representing education workers in Huntsville, Alabama. He has served in various roles as a union member and is a member of multiple organizations seeking to build a better community. Adam is proud to be part of The Valley Labor Report media collective as we strive to amplify the voices of the working class in the American South.