The Party for Socialism and Liberation in Albuquerque is launching Mission Estudiante, August 15-19, a grassroots campaign to raise urgently needed school supplies and materials to provide relief to teachers, parents and students. Donations will be distributed to the Albuquerque schools most impacted by criminal education cuts, and schools serving the most low-income student populations.No more cuts! Education for the people, not for profit!

Background

Because of the reactionary policies of the elites of New Mexico’s political establishment, funding for public schools has been sharply slashed for years.

Since the 2007-09 Great Recession, political elites have addressed every revenue crisis by violently cutting already inadequate state spending on public schools. Funding per-student is still lower in 2017 than it was in pre-Recession 2007, and is 14 percent lower than the national average! Spending on education used to be half of the total budget, now it’s down to a dismal 42 percent.

The result: New Mexico has ranked 49th or 50th in the nation in education since 2012.

Blaming the poor

Several New Mexico families and school districts have now brought the state of New Mexico to court (Yazzie vs. State of New Mexico) to try and force them to adequately fund education.

When the acting secretary of education for New Mexico Chris Ruszkowski recently took the stand, he outrageously claimed that more money wasn’t the answer at all! Instead, he said that teachers and principals just “have to believe” in success. Really? In Ruszkowski’s warped view and the view of the budget-cutting wealthy elite—whose children’s every need is already met—the education crisis in New Mexico isn’t about resources; it’s about the “un-believing” attitudes of teachers, principals, parents and students!

Education cuts are not inevitable! The money is there!

When the budget-cutting elites like Ruszkowski aren’t busy blaming working families for the crisis they themselves created, they are shrugging their shoulders, disingenuously claiming that “the money isn’t there” or that “the pie is too small” to fund our schools.

That is a lie! The money is there! It could be collected tomorrow by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Poor New Mexicans pay over 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes. Rich New Mexicans pay less than 5 percent!

Between 2013 and 2017, while the state was balancing its budget by furiously slashing public school money, they were lowering the corporate tax rate on their friends from 7.6 percent to 5.9 percent!

The problem isn’t that the “pie is too small.” The problem is that the well-off are keeping most of the pie to themselves.

Cuts hit the classroom!

One-third of our children live at or below the poverty line, and they are the ones that get slammed by every cut! The children of the rich never have to feel the impact.

The consequences of the cuts for working class students and teachers are real: fewer instructional days, larger class sizes, less professional development for teachers, fewer tutors and coaches, less summer learning, less after-school enrichment, missing out on activities and competitions that require travel, less early learning and pre-K, less dual-language and Native education, less access to the internet.

Deepening education cuts also mean fewer school supplies for the classroom. By skimping on school supplies, the budget-cutters shift the burden and expense onto the shoulders of teachers and parents, a workaround way of handing a pay cut to teachers who on average are now dropping $500 of their own money on classroom supplies. Some teachers spend over $1,000!

Mission Estudiante

For this reason the Party for Socialism and Liberation in Albuquerque is launching Mission Estudiante, a grassroots campaign to raise school supplies and donations to provide a little relief to teachers, parents and students.

The community-led movement to resist the reactionary assault on public education is heating up in New Mexico. As we work to deepen the resistance and the fight-back, the PSL calls on the community to donate whatever they can to support our kids and classroom teachers!

PSL members and volunteers will be at the PSL Office, 2626 Garfield Avenue SE, Albuquerque from 8:00am – 8:00pm, August 15-19, to collect supplies and monetary donations. For those unable to make it but have something to donate, you can arrange an onsite pickup within the city by calling 505-236-3456.

All donations will be collected by the PSL and delivered to the Albuquerque Public Schools Title 1 office, to be distributed to students enrolled in Title 1 schools (schools considered 50 percent “economically disadvantaged”).

When: Tuesday, August 15 – Saturday, August 19, 8:00am to 8:00pm

Where: PSL Office, 2626 Garfield Avenue SE, Albuquerque

Volunteer: Contact us at 505-236-3456

Monetary donations will be used by the PSL to purchase items from the list below

List of needed supplies:

Kindergarten/1st grade

· Backpack

· Wide rule spiral notebooks

· Pocket folders

· Pencils

· Pair rounded scissors

· Box colored pencils

· Pack washable markers

· Box crayons (24 count)

· Erasers

· Glue sticks

· Bottles of glue

2nd/3rd grade

· Backpack

· Wide rule spiral notebooks

· Packs wide ruled paper

· Pocket folders

· Pencils

· Pair rounded scissors

· Box colored pencils

· Pack washable markers

· Box crayons

· Eraser

· Glue sticks

· Bottles of glue

· Ruler

· Pencil sharpener

4th/5th grade

· Backpack

· Wide rule spiral notebooks

· Packs wide ruled paper

· Pocket folders

· Pencils

· Pair rounded scissors

· Box colored pencils

· Pack washable markers

· Box crayons

· Erasers

· Glue sticks

· Bottle of glue

· Ruler

· Pencil sharpener

· Protractor

· Compass

Middle/High School

· Backpack

· Ring notebook with dividers

· Spiral notebooks

· Sheets packs paper

· Pocket folders

· Pencils

· Black pens

· Blue pens

· Red pen

· Highlighter

· Calculator

· Ruler

Teachers

· Printing paper, white 8.5”x11”

· Highlighters

· Post-it notes

· Post-it easel boards

· Card stock paper

· Cleaning wipes

· Tissues

· Hand sanitizer

· Hand soap

· Pens