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Dear Readers,

We would like to welcome you all to Participatory Democracy and Public Education.  This new blog will feature four writers -- Bryant, Saulo, Patrick and Greg using an active discussion format; engaging each other through critical responses to each other’s blogs.

Originally, we were writing at Education Week and many of our writings can be found there under the title of Democracy and Education. After having such a wonderful experience, it is time for us to transition in order to accomplish the goals we have set for our blog.

In making this transition, we have thought much about what our LARGER VISION has been for Democracy and Education.  We are in this work: to build a transformative movement that will make the educational and economic system more equitable.

Our blog work at Education Week (and now at Daily Kos) has been to build a conversation about transformative movements and public policy with potential allies.
We are getting to our larger vision by doing 6 actions:

1.    Through stories and ideas, connecting with our audience:
 (our audience is students, activists, funders, teachers and progressives who we are connecting with horizontally and vertically, across generations and fields; among progressive sectors not engaged in education reform and those involved in education);

2.    Engaging our audience and getting their comments to help us catalyze each other’s thinking:
(getting ideas, stories and theories of change to create conversations that are smarter, more spirited and grounded that will help foster more cutting edge and efficacious work);

3.    Creating a space so we all can take a moment to step back out of the trenches and engage in conversations bridging theory and practice (praxis):
(for example students or teachers sharing stories and stepping back from their struggles in high school or activists from their movements or funders and their strategies);

4.    Sharing our knowledge on how others create change:
(and showing how others are getting involved today, have built transformative movements in the past and are creating alternatives both in the US and around the world);

5.    Pointing out the inequities in the US system education, economic and political system:  
(and showing how education is both a microcosm and the cutting edge of the larger economic system);

6.    Giving our reader/partners specific opportunities to act and participate:
(Providing links and being a hub among a network of hubs for people to join movements).

By doing all these things we are getting to our goals – here are the ABCs:

A. Amplify activists', students' and educators' thinking about what is happening and what is possible,
B. Build relationships among a wide range of partners; and,
C. Collaborate in building the public and political will necessary to imagine and push for a more participatory, equitable education and economic system.  

Ultimately, we recognize that a transformation of the education system will not take place in the absence of an authentic social movement. And joining a movement is more of an action than reading a blog on the web. The web can connect, amplify, inform but to join you also have to get off the web and get with people in the classroom, out on the streets, occupying schools and homes and campaign offices.

We will continue to write about activism, education reform and our theories of successful social movements. We encourage you to read and comment our blogs to come. We cherish substantive criticism and feedback because it is the essence of generating greater ideas. You can email us at gjl.democracy.educationgmailcom.  

Many thanks!
Greg, Patrick, Bryant and Saulo

Originally posted to Participatory Democracy and Public Education on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Can You Sketch What Your Visision Is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevej, Azazello

    beyond how you intend to accomplish it?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:02:41 AM PDT

    •  My thoughts exactly (0+ / 0-)

      As much as I am not a fan of mission statements one here would be helpful. I am all for process but goals, even flexible ones, are important.

      •  Vision and Mission (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks Gooserock and SteveJ.  I will take a stab at answering your good questions on vision and mission.  Let me know if I've answered your questions.  We tried to state our vision above:

        We are in this work: to build a transformative movement that will make the educational and economic system more equitable.  

        and then laid out the the ABC's above.  I am wondering what it is you are looking for?  Please let me know/us what below answers your questions please.

        For me personally, as one of the four original bloggers, I do want to eventually write a book on The Art of Transformative Movements; and take the research I have done to lay out 5 common qualities of all successful movements.  I want to test out some of these lessons learned with kos and other readers.  I can talk more about the book if you would like.

        Here are some of our thoughts on our vision and mission:
        •    to create a space for students to talk to each other and to create an inter-generational, cross role space so that we can build a national movement for student rights, win a National Student Bill of Rights (NSBR) and achieve an educational system that delivers these rights.
        •    to build the Opportunity to Learn (OTL) framework to change the debate from the testing, privatizing and teacher bashing mania to one of a discussion of the opportunities children need so that we can create a system that provides highly trained and effective teachers, quality preschools, college readiness and solid resources.  
        •    OTL is based on the idea that there is tremendous activism out there, activists, parents, teachers and organizations and if we develop a unified frame then the people doing preschool and student organizing could all use communications to forge a stronger message and debate.  OTL is the pieces and means;  attempts to create a message frame.
        •    share knowledge of student movements as well as well as more free-thinking educational systems and larger social movements.
        •    expose the inequities in education as a microcosm of our capitalist system, create an educational system that allows students to become  critically aware of their reality and to become change agents.  
        •    to position the educational equity movement as the cutting edge of a larger social movement that changes the economic system into a more ground-up system that is not driven by profits but by the needs of people.
        •    make education a part of the progressive agenda and situate it as Jean Anyon talks about -- as a microcosm of our economic system and a leading edge of  justice movements, rights movements and show how public education is right now the leading edge of the privatize/neoliberal movment.

        •    For me, my mission is one of systems change.  I have seen provinces like Ontario turn around their educational system in 5 years--  into one that provides the opportunities OTL and NSBR seek; I have seen Finland offer a top level education system where teachers are respected, where resources are distributed equitably and where there are no homeless students coming to school  because the economic and political system does not tolerate such inequities.  And I have studied how in US history we have created such levels of change (from women getting the right to vote and to own property, to the labor movement winning the 8 hour work day and the weekend, to the US closing the educational opportunity and achievement gap in the 60s and 70s as a result of the successful transformative movements.  Students have been a driving force in most transformative movements.  
        •    My theory of action:  I believe that by connecting with an interested audience, sharing  our knowledge on how others have created change, engaging our audience in conversation and pointing out the inequities in the US system education system, making connections between education and the larger economic system and giving our reader/partners specific opportunities to act and participate – by doing all of these things -- we will expand students and educators thinking about what is possible, establish collaboration among a wide range of partners, more will join these movements, we will help foster more cutting edge and efficacious advocacy work and build the public and political will necessary to push for and demand a more equitable education and economic system.  
        •    I imagine much more than a blog and that the blog is just one tool in a much larger platform.  I imagine illustrated podcast talks, wikis, presi, music and other online networking.  I know others are doing this.  I imagine a printed book and eventually a convening space.  And a network of virtual and physical places that create the space for expanding movement memory, heart, strategy and soul.  I know our work is a hub in a web of networks that can create the needed accessible movement space.

        I hope this fills in some of the blanks for you

  •  good link (2+ / 0-)

    and good luck.


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:06:32 AM PDT

  •  Excellent idea. (2+ / 0-)

    I would like to introduce you do another group on DKos writing about education issues -Education Alternatives. We've been trying to move the conversation beyond standard 'reform.'

    I have a feeling we will be republishing a lot of what you have to write :)

    I look forward to seeing more! And participating in the conversations.

  •  Interested in what you are up to... (0+ / 0-)

    being a person very interested in democratic schools as well as unschooling.  http://www.leftyparent.com/...

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

    by leftyparent on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:15:34 PM PDT

  •  Are you folks familiar with IDEA? That is... (0+ / 0-)

    the Institute for Democratic Education in America?  Click the link... http://www.democraticeducation.org/

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

    by leftyparent on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:17:41 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the Great Suggestion on our Blog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftyparent

    Cooper:  I had heard of the Institute for Democratic Education in America and just now went to the link you provided above.  I loved reading the conversation between Leigh the teacher and Anna the student.  Perhaps they will want to guest blog here.  Thanks for the connection.

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