Historical Struggle for Equality in Education

February 23, 2014

For the past 200 years, the working class has struggled against the privilege of wealth in education, and for the definition of education as a public matter, not a private one. In the 19th century, a widespread movement for a national system of free schools forced one state after another to assume the responsibility of providing public education, first at the elementary level, later extending to secondary education, and finally leading to the establishment of state universities and land grant colleges. Although a national system of public schools never arose, the principle that education was a matter of public responsibility was set in practice. . . .

Today, capitalist politicians are once again promoting the idea that education is a private matter, are attempting to reverse all the progress of the last two centuries. Today, the capitalist class has no interest in universal education, no interest in enlightenment for the good of the society. The capitalist class wishes to educate only as many workers as they need to assume the responsibilities of professionals and skilled technicians to ensure competitiveness in the global marketplace. The remainder should better remain ignorant, to perform menial labor as wage slaves.

The working class must lead the struggle for the right to education. The standpoint of the workers is that education is a social activity and a social responsibility, not a private one. The workers must challenge the current capitalist offensive by opposing the withdrawal of investments in education, the dismantling of the public school system, and its privatization. Moreover, we must carry the struggle forward, for equality in education – for a comprehensive, national system of education from infant care to college, based on equal funding.