Cliffs and Crises: Jubilee School on How to Understand and Fight Post-Covid School District Budget Struggles

Around the country, school districts are facing budget crises. As K-12 Covid funding runs out, teachers, students, and communities find their district leadership cutting programs, firing them or their colleagues, and even closing schools. Local journalists, if they cover these stories, merely take notes on what district leadership says, taking it as the simple truth. But is it? What’s really going on in our school districts across the country? 

When we view these crises from the perspective of public schools’ debt—bond debt, pension debt, or what happens when federal relief funds disappear for example—we get a very different picture, one that can become a counter-narrative to district leaders’ positions. Austerity narratives rule the day and are imposed as the only way to see the situation. Teachers and staff and community members, students and parents, end up feeling angry, afraid, and confused. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

In this workshop, Debt Collective organizers and writer Nora de La Cour (Jacobin) will provide analysis, resources, and tools to (1) understand the current landscape of crisis in United States school districts and then (2) organize to not only protect our public schools, but make them even more public. We will look at specific districts, invite participants to analyze their own districts, craft their own counter-narratives, and think about organizing possibilities.

Guest Speakers: 

Nora de la Cour, writes on education for Jacobin and has worked in public schools in various roles.

David I Backer, is a Professor at West Chester University and author of the forthcoming, As Public as Possible: Radical Finance for America’s Schools(The New Press).

Jason Thomas Wozniak, is a Professor at West Chester University, organizer with Debt Collective, and co-author of the forthcoming, Lend and Rule: Fighting the Shadow Financialization of Public Universities (Common Notions Press)