Under capitalism, children are among the very most oppressed sectors of humanity. In every nation, state, city, and town we find that the suffering inflicted by capitalists in their insane drive to increase their profits at the expense of every other living thing on Earth is all that trickles down, with the effects being proportionally greater on children given that they are still in the early stages of development. And this goes further than just their physical well being: Capitalism is a system that places little to no value upon the individual human life, and this attitude expresses itself in the home as physical and emotional abuse of children—abuse that reproduces itself from generation to generation, with de-humanized individuals raising still more de-humanized individuals in order to perpetuate the de-humanizing profit system. Therefore, it is unsurprising that, while every politician in the world is more than willing to use the idea of the children being “our future” as a way to get votes, the needs of children are seldom a priority unless the government is discussing where to cut services in order to fund a tax break for the rich. This is yet another way in which capitalism continues to make life worse for everyone who is not ultra-rich.
We think children—and we mean every last child—should have their basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education, as well as their less quantifiable needs for emotional security, guaranteed, and this should be an inalienable right assigned to the children, not their parents.
In San Francisco, one of the most fabulously wealthy cities in the most fabulously wealthy country in the history of the world, many of the workers that support the San Francisco tourist, tech and film industry and the big business of the financial district live in District 11. Every day, thousands of workers leave the district to serve the wealthy in their kitchens, their offices, their hotels, their parks, and their homes. Those with children will find the cost of childcare to be around $800 per month, deepening the poverty that many already experience. Therefore, many turn to unofficial, low-cost alternatives to childcare, which often involves placing children in private homes with dozens of other children where they are supervised while their parents go to work to make just enough money to stay poor. This is unacceptable.
In order to guarantee our children the best possible chance at addressing the challenges of this changing world, we call for:
- The City and County of San Francisco to tax downtown big businesses and use this money to make sure our neighborhood—and every other neighborhood—has sufficient resources to care for our children, administered by an elected council of District 11 residents (please see A Point on Financing).
- Guaranteeing all children—including those who are either undocumented immigrants or descended from undocumented immigrants—the same access to food, shelter, clothing, heath care, and educational services of any other resident of the City. In the many instances where Federal and State agencies deny services to undocumented immigrants, the City will endeavor to provide them with funds taken from the police and sheriffs, as well as taxes levied on big businesses for this purpose (please see A True Sanctuary District).
- A battery of initiatives to train parents on how to take care of their children emotionally as well as physically, amounting to a child abuse eradication program.
- The functions of Child Protective Services to be taken up by the District 11 Council to reduce bureaucracy and increase response time to incidences of child abuse (please see A Community-Powered District). As a Council of district residents, the District 11 Council will also be in a position to provide these services more reflexively to the circumstances without the recourse of police, who nearly always make everything worse.
- Insuring resources are made available to people informally providing childcare in their homes regardless of immigration status to allow them to adequately staff their businesses, as well as provide all of the facilities they need. The District Council should participate in forming an integrated network of the people providing these services as the basis of a new childcare system funded by the state to provide 100% free childcare to all district residents, in which workers will receive union wages and benefits.
- Providing all children sufficient, nutritional breakfast and lunch programs, after-school programming, affordable pre-schools, and the highest quality education. We also want summer gardening and art programs.
- Standing strong against privatization of any aspect of education. This means acting to end the practice of creating charter schools and to rescind the charters of those that exist, as well as ending the contracting out of after-school programs to non-profit organizations and churches as we bring these under public control in public schools.
- Raising the standards of curricula at our public schools to ensure that all children have access to a basic level of education that takes scientific discovery seriously, imparts scientific understanding, and lays the basis for the expansion of scientific knowledge, while also offering a solid foundation in the arts. The point is to make the very best in education practices available to the district’s children while also taking steps to close the artificial gap between the sciences and the humanities. We want to recognize the importance of multicultural traditions to many parents and families while limiting the negative impact that prejudices of a religious nature can have on teaching important facts, like evolution.
- Making every possible effort to provide the children of immigrants with education services in their native languages as well as comprehensive courses in English as a Second Language.
- Creating a health advocacy program for children in District 11 that would take responsibility for getting students to doctors’ appointments—including vision and dental, keeping parents informed about students’ health issues, and assisting students with following medical professionals’ instructions (please see A Healthy District).
- Opening up clinics in schools that can provide a full range of medical services to children, making it possible for students to attend doctors’ appointments without their parents having to miss work to take them.
- Creating representation for teachers and their unions on the District 11 Council so District residents can be better informed about education issues that confront our public schools and mobilize to support them in their struggles.
- Overturning the undemocratic structure of public school administrations in which the principal is treated as being basically infallible and making the principal the elected servant of the teachers, staff, and students.
- Notifying the Federal Government that District 11 schools will opt out of standardized testing.
- Giving all students who desire it the opportunity to begin to engage in productive labor as part of their education as early as possible. This should be paired with the restoration and development of the environment in the district. All youth of the District who desire to should have city jobs maintaining the district’s infrastructure.
- Free public transportation for all (pleasae see A Rider’s District).
- All youth and children should have access to a bicycle. If they can’t pay for them, the City should pay for them. We are for free, safe, high-quality bicycles on demand, made to order for all who desire them. In the meantime, the City should provide subsidies and incentives to increase the bike share program, as well as bike repair shops where kids and youth can learn how to fix bikes.