Against Disinformation on Cat Brooks' Education Policy

By K. Khan

Comrades, I’m in NYC and wont be able to make the special meeting this Sunday. I did want to weigh in on this discussion around Cat Brooks’ education policy and experience. 

I spoke with Cat yesterday and got a chance to discuss the claim that “there's no sign so far that Brooks has sought to distance herself from her pro-privatization work” and “possibly ongoing relationship to several billionaire-funded characterization and privatization nonprofits”

This smacks of disinformation. Cat ended her association with GO Public schools 5 years ago when it became clear to her that the nonprofit was pro-charter and has had no relationship or even contact with them since then. She has never been pro-privatization and her work focused on parents advocating for their children and removing cops from schools. She was also the executive director for youth together and remains their consultant. Youth together empowers parents and students of color to fight for quality education opportunities in OUSD public schools. 

Her policy position calls for a moratorium on charter schools and massive new funding for public schools, and she is fully supportive of teachers unions - in fact has worked with them on a number of campaigns over the last decade.

Of course, as socialists we must put forward and defend class struggle perspectives for better education but we must shun purity politics and attempts to dig up past “sins”. Positions held in the past - if that is even what we can all this, it seems mostly conjecture and insinuation - are not what should determine an endorsement. Public schools under capitalism are not perfect - e.g. almost all public schools often have cops on campus - and often oppressed groups may find themselves supporting options that they may believe offer them relief. 

We need to understand the underlying factors in these concerns and address them as a way to strengthen our struggle against privatization. The way in which public schools are funded under capitalism is inherently illogical. Funding of schools thorough local real estate taxes means that working class and in particular black working class families see their children go to underfunded, under resourced, public schools. For decades as black families have sought out better school districts, but the racist “white flight” phenomenon impacts real estate prices and hence the tax dollars available for public schools.

Naturally charter schools are not a socialist solution to this problem. A nationally funded, worker controlled, school system is something we should fight for as a substantial reform. Ultimately socialists must fight to fully fund and expand public schools, colleges, and universities. Abolish tuition fees and forgive student loans. Provide living grants and paid internships to all students. Nationalize the private universities and colleges and merge them into a united public higher education system. 

I want to emphasize that what is important is what Cat Brooks puts forward today in her campaign for mayor. She does not support more charter schools and instead supports more funding for public schools.

The statement above is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of East Bay DSA, its steering committee, or its members.