A blog about Learning, about Education, about transformation, about change, about youth voice, about democratic human centered education. I am trying to ask the question "Why we educate" and what my answer means to me as a teacher and how my role shapes society and the whole.
I have heard the word “compliance” too many times for me to count this year. And so, with that in mind, I’m reposing an piece about education and compliance: She still felt naked when the reporters arrived to throw stones. Jesus approached the crowd and silenced them with the permission to criticize and to ask … Continue reading »
“I hate math. When I was a kid, I just couldn’t remember all the formulas and I couldn’t figure out how to take what the teacher did and make it my own,” a friend tells me. He doesn’t hate math. He probably doesn’t even hate computation or algorithms. No, he hates magical math. He hates compliantly … Continue reading »
paper, rock, scissors, anyone? Back when the Tea Party started, I found myself agreeing with a few concepts: smaller, more localized government, direct democracy, anger over the bailouts. As it grew more extreme, I thought to myself, “I like nuance and paradox and humility in public policy and this is a bit like the country … Continue reading »
Somewhere in his first year of life, Micah noticed the moon. I’m doubtful that he understood that it was far away or that it was a sphere or that it orbited the earth. It was a beautiful mystery to him. Somewhere between two and three, he noticed that the moon was out during the day. … Continue reading »
Why doesn’t my supermarket have a live mariachi band? I’m stuck with Carol King. Anticipation? I’m anticipating a day when I can get some corridos live in the produce aisle. I’m standing in the grocery store aisle, trying to cost-compare in my monumental struggle to find the greatest bargain on black beans. “I hear … Continue reading »
Teaching and learning has not changed much at all, but the tools used to do so have been installed, upgraded, patched and begun to evolve. Where Aristotle might use a stick to draw in the sand, now a teacher draws on a digital blackboard for one hundred grand.
Where face-to-face conversations were once needed, online chat-rooms are monitored, sold and seated. Now I can see and hear you talking. Now I can raise my avatar’s hand to ask Stephen Hawking, Any question I might think, if he answers I might get a blink.
At the very core of this discussion is the reason for evolving as the present day model of higher education is dissolving. Many technology geniuses are college dropouts such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg with a net worth of $17.5 billion. Facebook changed the world forever. Facebook and Twitter were necessary to empower the Arab Spring and Occupy Together.
In Tunisia, one video emerged filmed inside a hospital in the town of Kasserine: a young man lay dead with his brains spilled clean. Posted and re-posted hundreds of times on YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere, [the video] set off a wave of revulsion across North Africa and the Middle East. Many thought or stated, You don’t want to see this, it’s horrible, but you must. You have a moral obligation to look at what is happening, even if in disgust.
At the core of these movements is the reinvention of power structures. The toppling of dictatorships be it governmental or corporate, is the driving force behind these movements which were all initiated online. All along, the price tag of a bachelor’s degree has continued to increase. Student protests have popped up all over due to extreme tuition hikes. These peaceful protests have been met by brute force by the police.
They question the value of student loans and the trickery of college recruiters pulling the unwary into student loans in order to drive profit margins. Profits never seen by the average faculty or students. One can see how traditional learning programs might be threatened by online learning’s rapid and exponential adaptation. What we are seeing is an evolution of higher education.
A “Mic Check” on the ivory tower, where knowledge has for centuries been kept from the general public through over-specialization of research and academic elitism, disconnected from the practical, to a more populist approach of community driven education. Programs are being designed with the students’ needs in mind to empower. Self-efficacy is something almost entirely new and extremely desired.
Now, professors and universities must evolve quickly to a world that questions the value of the ivory tower, that questions the structure of its power, that questions if the tower should have ever existed at all and if so how should it be rebuilt before it falls.
Wise words for our current times from 96 year-old Detroit based radical activist Grace Lee Boggs, whose seven decades of political involvement encompass the major U.S. social movements of the past hundred years. Grace was involved in extensive Civil Rights and Black Power Movement activism in Detroit in partnership with husband and black autoworker, James Boggs (1919-93) and together they founded the Boggs Center to nurture and devolop community leaders. Grace speaks her wisdom from the heart and highlights the potential for transformation during these revolutionary times and the #occupy movement.
My worldview allows me to laugh – gallows humor, but laughter just the same.
I find the matters you present as, How Very Expected!
At least ‘they’ aren’t using FMJ rounds like ‘they’ did at Kent State. At least ‘they’ aren’t launching tear gas canisters into a crowd whose egress is blocked by another line of “them”.
I think the shock you and others might experience is due to the seeming betrayal of your beliefs. I feel for all of you. I also feel for “them”, because they are dismayed that the Occupiers “made all this necessary”.
Oh yes, it is the fault of the Occupiers…
Herein resides a Truth. ‘Lawful’ application of physical violence rests with the powerful, and the powerful seldom give up their power unless their interests converge with those of the (relatively) powerless. The critical mass has not yet been reached.
Once upon a time, I did not see things in this way. I was optimistic. Eventually I intellectually learned my lessons well – a toll is always extracted for nonconformity, and one would do well to avoid true individualism.
Since when did current events become possible? Break out the old films of the Race Riots or the Viet Nam War protests. Go back in history further still – there are quite a few examples of citizens applying violence to citizens. Washington D.C. had been occupied once upon a time, and soon cleared out (an event you don’t often hear about). From what I can see, the Occupiers crossed the ethereal legal line marking “speech/speech-act/act”. I am only surprised that it has taken as long as it has for violence to be applied.
What examples are we? Perhaps the word “we” should include all who are in front of youths, and for that matter, in front of other adults as well. I’m certain you are discomfited. I have been in a similar state most of my life – I know that ideas without action are worthless, and that action sometimes results in your getting your rear-end kicked.
I wish you the best in navigating these difficult waters.
Hopefully someday there will again be United States of America, where we have freedom of speech, press and assembly! Pepper Spraying 84 year olds, punching women, barring press for reporting, evicting peaceful protesters at 1am! This is not America. Lets stop pretending!
HOW you learn is just as important as WHAT you learn in school, and as students, you have the right to ask questions about how schools arrive at decisions about both. So who gets to determine the how and the what of public education? This is where Occupy Education connects with the Occupy Wall Street movement: they both criticize growing corporate influence and control.
Think back to an article you reader earlier this semester, “Preparing Minds for Markets,” and our breakdown of the rhetoric used in poor, inner-city schools meant to encourage students to aim for a job in management. This is one example of corporate influence on schooling, and those involved in Occupy Education identify more: charter schools (run on corporate models) and standardized testing.
The following video was created by a professor of education. While the quality isn’t the best, it offers a detailed breakdown of what exactly the Occupy Education movement is challenging in our public schools. As students, you should be interested in some of these connections as well.
If nothing else, this video serves as a reminder of why it’s important to not be a knucklehead and to read/research for the whole conversation before deciding what we think and what arguments we support, as Humble reminds us. This is especially true of current events, which are routinely over-simplified in the mainstream media.