In show of 'resistance,' teachers unions demand police-free schools, moratorium on voucher programs

They also want a suspension of charter schools and a new tax on billionaires.

Updated: August 4, 2020 - 12:40pm

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Styling their activism as an effort of "resistance," a coalition of teachers unions has issued a lengthy list of expansive demands calling for a wide variety of transformative educational policies in the United States, among them a "massive" infusion of federal funds and a "moratorium" on new charter schools and voucher programs. 

The Demand Safe Schools Coalition held a "Day of Resistance" on Monday this week, meant to "advance a racial justice agenda in public education, in particular by organizing for police-free schools."

The group, which consists of at least 10 teachers unions, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the racial activist group Journey for Justice Alliance, argues that "the government must go much further to provide the resources to ensure a safe and equitable school reopening and must provide for our communities and working families through transformational Common Good demands."

Among the numerous demands the group lists on its website are "police-free schools," a "moratorium on new charter or voucher programs and standardized testing," reduced class sizes, the "canceling [of] rents and mortgages," a "moratorium on evictions/foreclosures," and "direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed."

The group is also calling for a "massive infusion of federal money to support the reopening funded by taxing billionaires and Wall Street."

The coalition on Monday orchestrated about three dozen demonstrations in cities across the country, from Boston to Dallas to Los Angeles. 

Numerous medical and pubic health authorities have urged schools to re-open for in-person learning in the fall.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said last month that the COVID-19 mortality risk for schoolchildren is "one in a million," while the American Academy of Pediatrics has argued that "all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."

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