Asserting the Rights of Youth

March 24, 2014

Today the youth in all 50 states are required to take "high-stakes" standardized tests.

The policy of requiring that public schools administer standardized tests is one of the means used by the capitalist politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties for depriving the daughters and sons of the workers of their right to education.

Repeated studies have proven that such tests not only fail to measure a students' achievement but that they discriminate against the workers and oppressed minorities.

By using such tests to deny promotion and graduation, the government is denying students the right to pursue their education and putting a blight on their future.

By slashing funds or closing down schools which perform poorly on such tests, the government is again undermining the schools in working class and poor neighborhoods.

For years working class and minority youth as well as students enrolled in vocational and special-education programs have been discriminated against by being crowded into inferior, underfunded schools with underfunded programs. Today these conditions have become more widespread. As a result of being denied their right to a modern education, these students invariably are at greater risk of failing standardized tests and being deprived of a high school diploma and the chance to continue their schooling.

In many schools the curriculum has been cut back to the point where students are not even taught such basic skills as reading and writing much less other elements of a modern education.

So too, the majority of youth are denied access to recreational and cultural activities and millions of youth can only "look forward" to a life of low-wage, dead end jobs.

And, of course, the youth are given absolutely no role in determining their future or the direction of the country, but rather find themselves pushed aside and marginalized at every turn.

This situation must be changed!

As a starting point, the youth, side by side with the workers and people, must assert themselves and their rights – their right to a modern education, their right to recreation and culture, their right to seek the truth, their right to participate in the political affairs of society and shape their social environment, their right to economic security and to a future.

Assisting the youth to assert themselves and take part in the struggle for progress is the responsibility of all of us.