Notes from Radical PD at Free Minds Free People
The following is by no means a complete representation of the days goals or agenda, but are solely some impressions that I took away from the radical professional development at the Free Minds Free People conference today. FMFP also has an official blog.
– Teachers and schools are under attack and this is the logic of the attackers: Public schools are failing because we have too many bad teachers and this is because the unions have too much power; funding, class size, and poverty don’t matter. Teachers (and no one else, not anyone else, period!) are responsible for student achievement. Get rid of the unions, fire the teachers, and privatize.
– What is neoliberalism? The neoliberal model of education is a human capital model – preparing workers (differentially) for the new economy. This is education in the private interest. (Pauline Lipman, 2005). “Your path is a GED, Your path is medical school, and your path is prison. You are now human capital so don’t stray from your path!”
– Curtis Acosta updated us on the situation in Tucson, Arizona: Teaching ethnic studies is now illegal in Arizona (WHAT?!) A law requires teachers to treat students as individuals and forbids the teaching of ethnic solidarity. If we sit back and accept this as teachers it will come to our districts next.
-Teachers from Milwaukee, Wisconsin updated us on the struggle there. I was so engaged in their stories that I forgot to take notes. It was truly inspiring.
– There were also breakout sessions on ways to fight back and fight forward with our curriculum, mixed media, our unions and with our youth.
Again, these are some of my take aways from the days events and are by no means a full representation. Hopefully, these take aways will spark further discussion so please add a comment below. FMFP also has an official blog.