Jacobin Radio

Jacobin Radio


Jacobin Radio: Joel Jordan and Constance Penley on Schools Reopening

July 17, 2020

Suzi talks to Joel Jordan and Constance Penley who make the case against school reopening for K-12 and the Universities. Joel Jordan, retired LAUSD teacher and former UTLA strategist, is helping to coordinate a coalition of the largest teacher unions in California who are leading the fight by teachers, parents, and students against school reopening at the K-12 level. The teachers and their allies have won an initial victory -- Los Angeles and San Diego counties have just announced they will not open in the Fall. The resurgence of the deadly pandemic in the region underscores the danger of going back to school until the curve is flattened and the disease brought under control, giving the unions a temporary breathing space. The Trump administration, along with its corporate and political allies, have made reopening the economy the only priority and are stepping up the pressure to reopen so parents can be freed from childcare responsibilities and go back to work. Joel Jordan fills us in on the class-wide counter-organizing that is taking place. Constance Penley, President of the Council of UC Faculty Associations and Professor at UC Santa Barbara discusses the rush to bring students back to campuses at the university level in some form this fall. The issues are somewhat different for higher education than for K-12, but faculties across the board have questioned their institutions, who have presented an ever changing series of plans, rationales and procedures for bringing people back to campus without explaining why this is the right approach --  and more importantly, have left faculty input out of the equation in making the decisions that will affect their livelihood and health security. Constance Penley and the Council of UC Faculty Associations are also fighting the Trump administration’s efforts to force in-person classes by threatening to expel international students who don’t attend physical classrooms. We get her take on what is behind this push and the fight to prevent putting everyone’s health at risk.