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Saturday, May 30, 2020

FOR DISCUSSION The Schools We Want/the Schools We Deserve A New Deal for Public Education | Bill Ayers


The Schools We Want/the Schools We Deserve
A New Deal for Public Education

The Schools We Want/the Schools We Deserve
A New Deal for Public Education
(DRAFT: 10-Point Program)

Education is a fundamental human right and a basic community responsibility.
Every child, simply by being born, has the right to a free, accessible, high-quality public education. That means that a decent, generously-staffed school facility must be in easy reach for every family. This is not at all difficult to envision: what the most privileged parents have for their children right now—small class sizes, fully-trained and well-compensated teachers, physics and chemistry labs, sports teams, physical education, and athletic fields and gymnasiums, after-school and summer programs, generous arts programs that include music, theater, and fine arts—is the base-line for what we want for all the children of our communities. Anything less weakens and then destroys democracy.

The curriculum must be forward-looking, recognizing the dignity of each person, and strengthening tolerance, understanding, peace and friendship among all people, and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights. Schools must be geared toward the full development of the human mind and the human personality, and that includes encouraging intellectual freedom and the ongoing consideration of fundamental questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? What does this time require of us now? Where do we want to go?
Given the harsh, unresolved history of white supremacy, and the adaptable and slippery nature of racial capitalism, it’s no surprise that the descendants of enslaved workers, African-ancestored youth, the children of First-Nations people and the laboring classes and immigrants from formerly colonized nations, too-often experience schooling as oppressive and colonizing rather than liberating. This must change. The public schools can and must become sites of resistance, vigorously combatting institutional racism, racial discrimination, segregation, and all forms of oppression.

A New Deal for Public Education will be shaped from the grass roots—fire from below. As organizers, educators, student, parents, and community members, we call for popular assemblies to mobilize in every town and county, every city, every neighborhood and community in order to build a bold, creative, and spirited mass movement—a red-hot fire from below—to demand the schools we need and the schools we deserve. These assemblies should “be realistic” and demand the impossible! We begin with a focus on first questions: In your dream of dreams, what should a good school look like in a free and democratic society? What do schools need to do in order to fulfill the needs of free people with minds of their own? What could schools be, and what should they become, as fundamental pillars of a free society? Dare the schools build a free social order?

TEN(tative) POINTS (for discussion)

1) Education is a basic human right and a fundamental freedom—it cannot be reduced to a product to be sold at the market place. We demand generous, full and equitable funding for public schools, and not CONTINUE READING: FOR DISCUSSION | Bill Ayers