Some themes while building a movement
During my brief hiatus from blogging over the last few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time organizing with parents, teachers, and community members. It’s been a busy few weeks filled with regular organization meetings, guest speakers, community forums, and the arduous yet rewarding work of recruiting parents/teachers.
A few central themes jump out in the work being built around issues. This includes (to name a few progressive education issues) alternatives to corp deform like resistance to mayoral control, struggling for democratic/independent parent organizations, developing culturally relevent curriculum, and supporting true, authentic support and retention of quality teachers.
First, all of the parts of this puzzle in education are interconnected. Fighting in the trenches, together with proper reflection and Political re-education is necessary in order to analyze the larger picture. In many ways, I’ve only begun to learn and be able to evaluate the deeper systemic issues in education. I spent years reading and observing what was happening around me in education but until I really started getting into organizing based around issues I couldn’t truly absorb and internalize what was happening on a deeper level. Working and learning based on action-based organizing in order to understand education issues is a continuously powerful epiphany as the rabbit-hole gets deeper.
Another theme, is that without strong alliances between teachers, teachers unions, parent organizations, and supportive community organizations, we severely limit the opportunity for effective, meaningful changes in schools. A healthy balance of negotiation, collaboration, agitation, and diplomacy has been occurring and needs to continue in order to build stronger regional and national alliances between organizations. While striving towards like-mindedness, we also need honesty and transparency in admitting that many bonds will be difficult to synthesize and sustain. Remaining grounded and realistic while also staying true to authentic progressive ideals in education is a struggle that we can not afford to fail to undertake.
Which connects me directly to the third theme, which is the need for a national movement to establish and realize many of the goals we strive for in our individual organizations and locations. This movement will not be made into reality easily. Building momentum would certainly require hard work and sacrifice from all of us who are serious about creating a different narrative in education, especially given the opposition’s money, power, and influence.
In a Looking Busy vs. Creating Positive Change vein, let’s not allow the opportunities we have in front of us to slip aside as we move forward.