By Francesca Gomes, Public School Teacher, Brooklyn, NY
Since I was a teenager, I have questioned the assertion that “capitalism gives everyone an equal chance at economic success.” Now that I teach middle school, I see the ways in which children are inundated with the idea that anyone who struggles financially simply didn’t study hard enough, work hard enough, or desire success enough. This damaging and completely untrue idea takes its toll on the dreams of children and teenagers, especially when they see that their parents work multiple jobs and are still unable to make enough to support their families.
At the same time, children around the country are told that there simply “isn’t enough money” to pay for their already drastically underfunded schools because of a financial crisis created by greedy bankers and capitalist politicians. Corporations have come to see education as a new opportunity to make money off children, treating them as if they were commodities and attempting to privatize the school system. In the process of opening charter schools, they turn sections of working class communities against each other, engage in shameless union-busting strategies, and begin to prepare children to enter a workforce they control. I have seen politicians in the Democratic Party support these charter schools in the same way that they have always supported corporations over the needs of the working class.
These injustices to young people illustrate perfectly why we need a new system; one in which working people of all nations have the right to fair wages, decent housing, and full, complete funding for all public services, including children’s education. The failure of the Democratic party to defend the futures of children reveals that democratic socialism is the only way to create a system free of dehumanizing influences and a dead end for working class kids.