Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why We Need Teacher Activist Groups- and More

Why We Need Teacher Activist Groups- and More

Mark Naison

Fordham University

I think the concept of Teacher Activist Groups, first brought to my attention by educator/organizer Katie Strom (see http://teacheractivistgroups.org-)
is a perfect vehicle for challenging the corporate takeover of public education because it encourages all teachers, whether veterans or new to the schools, whether graduates of education programs or products of alternative certification, to unite around a common agenda of resistance to testing and privatization.

But unless those TAG's work within community based coalitions to fight for economic justice, their protests against corporate control of schools will be easily isolated. Teachers must not only fight for the right to teach creatively, they must reinvent themselves as social justice activists who use their position as educators to help give students and their families a greater sense of power and agency so they can fight back against the forces driving them deeper into poverty.

These two roles must go hand in hand because the more teachers create linkages to students, parents and community activists, the more they can transform their own classrooms, and eventually their own schools, into "liberated space."

None of this will be easy. But can we afford to do anything less given the mass misery budget cuts are going to impose on the communities our schools are located in?

I am frightened by where our nation is going, but I am also inspired by all the young teachers who have decided to fight back, and all the veteran educators and organizers wiling to link up with them and given them full support.

We are on the verge of something I believe is truly momentous- the rebirth of a Progressive Justice Movement that will equal the ones that swept through American in the Great Depression and the Sixties

To those who are fearful that we lack the numbers or the will to bring this new movement into being, I will close with my favorite slogan from the Sixties, which for all I know could have come from Mao Tse Tung:

"Dare To Struggle, Dare to Win!"


Mark Naison/Notorious Phd

No comments: