North NJ DSA

A few years ago, the thought was “Why Socialists Should Become Teachers.” I think a number of us would agree we need to rephrase that as “Why Socialists Should Become School Workers.”

Why the expansion? One of the many things about education in this country that came to light over the past two years is the importance of every part of the school community – teachers, social workers, aides, psychologists, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, secretaries. In the Spring of 2020, two members of North NJ DSA talked about starting a group for school workers. We knew that so many things in education needed to be addressed, including just having a safe place for socialists to talk about the issues we face and how to best handle them.

Our first activity was a rereading of Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. When the world shut down in March, through to the end of the school year, we school workers were hailed as heroes. Once the summer came and capitalist powers convinced the world that it was time to get back to “normal”, that sentiment quickly reversed. Reading and discussing Freire that summer reenergized us to work toward what we knew was best for our students, their families, and the greater school community.

As school buildings reopened in September 2020, we faced a host of issues: student trauma was not being adequately addressed, staff were not receiving the necessary PPE, our colleagues were overwhelmed with a return to work in the midst of this ongoing pandemic, we were all expected to do this while being vilified by the public as the enemies for fighting for the safety of all. One thing we know needs to be done is strengthening out unions on the local, county, and state level. A few of us attended Jane McAlevey’s six session Strike School in the Fall. We gained methods and strategies that we have applied to the ongoing struggle for truly representative unions in our districts. Through working together, C.R.E.W. members have sought out and taken positions within their locals the implement changes that address the inequities both within and without their school buildings, campuses, and communities.

In addition, we are all there for each other, regardless of what our positions at our schools. We are teachers, aides, school psychologists, and professors at all grade levels, from K-12, in public and private schools. Meeting topics have included addressing proposed state legislation to stop inclusive curriculum, running better candidates for union office, supporting your Gender and Sexualities Alliance in a hostile environment, and what the role of a town’s Board of Education is.

We still have a ton of work to do, but none of us is doing it alone. C.R.E.W. has been a source of great support for its members and continues to do so. We meet every third Thursday evening at 7:00pm – our meetings are on the NNJDSA calendar. We are on facebook at NJ CREW and you can email us at All are welcome to join us.

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