Occupy Education Northern California

      Over the last few months I have been involved with a new group of teachers, students and citizens concerned about all levels of public education, from K-12 through Higher Ed, and even Pre-School and lifelong learning. It has been instructive to learn how deep and widespread is the impact of Privatization, and the emerging view of where that destructive force comes from. The following Mission Statement, developed through extensive discussions, was just recently approved by the group; and I thought it worthwhile to circulate this document, inviting your comments.     Charles Schwartz

Mission Statement for Occupy Education Northern California*

The attack on public education is one aspect of a larger attack on the public sector and on democracy more generally, where corporate interests now dominate political, social, and economic decisions. Occupy Wall Street has reshaped the debate over this country’s direction with the demand that the destruction of our communities and our earth resulting from corporatization must end: we seek something entirely different.

Occupy Education Northern California shares these broad goals and believes that we need more than simply increased funding for public education. The problems with education are deeply linked to and cannot be treated separately from racism; privatization; global economic competition rather than cooperation; and lack of access to food, housing, and healthcare. In order to address these issues, we must change the conditions in which students live and learn and provide them with tools to reimagine and reclaim their futures. Furthermore, education must prepare students to be empowered participants in a democratic community and to take respectful care of each other and of the planet.

To these ends, this is our vision:

  • Public education, from birth to life-long learning, is to be government-funded and free of charge for all individuals.
  • End the privatization of education, which includes funding cuts and fee hikes, top-down control, outsourced labor, standardized test-driven curricula, competition for access to schools, internet-based classes without human interaction, and the militarization of our campuses.
  • Education must be shaped by the needs of students, teachers, workers, and community members with their full, democratic participation in decision-making.
  • In the interests of education and all other public services, end corporate personhood and revoke the charter of any corporation that acts against the public’s political, financial, social, or environmental wellbeing.
  • Focus the goals of education on supporting the ethical and democratic interests of all the world’s inhabitants.

We will no longer plead with politicians who act in the economic interests of the 1%, and we will no longer buy into the false notion of “shared sacrifice.” We intend to stop the corporate program to privatize education by carrying out actions that positively embody the above principles.

Occupy Education Northern California believes that the 99% has the untapped political power necessary to realize this vision, and it is our mission to take part in a democratically led transformation of education. We invite you to join us!

 

*Note: We believe that the Mission Statement for Occupy Education Northern California is a living document that should be revised regularly to reflect the changing ideas of our participants, old and new.

Send us your feedback and find out when and where we’ll meet next: OccupyEducation.NorCal@gmail.com

7 Comments

  1. Gennie said,

    April 25, 2012 @ 8:01 am

    What an amazingly undemocratic & anti-intellectual statement! Charlie, I’m surprised you’d be “involved” with them.

  2. Mike S. said,

    April 25, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    Gennie,
    Please explain why you believe this statement to be both ‘undemocratic’ and ‘anti-intellectual’.

    Clearly you are incorrect on both counts:

    As to the first: the document was crafted by discussion among teachers, students and citizens, that is by the very people effected by these issues and who joined in the discussion freely and of their own volition. Furthermore, the statement advocates taking the issues to the populace at large, in the face of a political system which no longer represents the interests of the majority of its constituency. At the same time, the document does not call for action which illicitly negates or illicitly sidesteps the election of public officials within the existing system. In total, this would seem to be a very democratic approach.

    As to the second: the document promotes the notion of free, accessible education to all who seek it. That proposition cannot be reconciled with the label ‘anti-intellectual’.

  3. Gennie said,

    April 27, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    “We will no longer plead with politicians who act in the economic interests of the 1%, and we will no longer buy into the false notion of “shared sacrifice.”

    In other words, we’re right, and the voters who elected those politicians are wrong.

    “We intend to stop the corporate program to privatize education by carrying out actions that positively embody the above principles.”

    In other words, we believe we can’t convince you by reasoning with you, so we’re going to act to get our desires unilaterally.

  4. Mike S. said,

    May 10, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

    Gennie,
    what part of this didn’t you understand?
    “[t]he statement advocates taking the issues to the populace at large, in the face of a political system which no longer represents the interests of the majority of its constituency. At the same time, the document does not call for action which illicitly negates or illicitly sidesteps the election of public officials within the existing system.”

    as to this specifically:
    “In other words, we believe we can’t convince you by reasoning with you, so we’re going to act to get our desires unilaterally.”
    what part of this didn’t you understand?
    “[t]he document was crafted by discussion among teachers, students and citizens, that is by the very people effected by these issues and who joined in the discussion freely and of their own volition.”
    How does reasoned discussion between interested parties amount to “we believe we can’t convince you by reasoning with you”?

    You quote directly from the blog post but in so doing you attribute meaning which is not found in the cited portions of the post; indeed you attribute meaning which is in no way reasonably found in the language of the post. You refused to respond to my comments on substantive grounds: how is my understanding of the post invalid or less reasonable than your own?

    Given that failure to engage on substance, it is difficult to entertain your comments has having been made in good faith.

  5. Nayara said,

    May 17, 2012 @ 7:49 am

    Bill,I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you never saw Tea Party prstoeters bound and dragged at their gatherings, despite the fact that they were armed and held signs referring to our president as a Nazi or indicating the Tree of Liberty might need to be refreshed. This is because nobody in the establishment found them to be a threat. In fact, they are an asset. It should be telling that when people gather for a true cause, the suppression of coverage, of information and of the ability to gather itself begins. Sadly, it is spun as an angry mob or a bunch of disenfranchised hippies trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. The same dismissive tone that brushes off the needs of the people for the sake of the needs of the almighty corporations, who we would be unable to live without.Thanks, as always, for reading, for responding, and for fighting the good fight.

  6. Anto C said,

    June 2, 2012 @ 3:33 am

    I think a greater emphasis needs to be placed on creativity and nurturing children’s talents, instead of shoe horning them into academia.

  7. Link Building London said,

    July 11, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    http://cheaplinkbuilding24-7.blogspot.co.uk

    Would be great to see more posts like this one……

RSS feed for comments on this post