Shout Out From Oakland

14 Feb

Classroom Struggle – an organization fighting for equality in the Oakland Public Schools –  is organizing to support the testing boycott in Seattle.  In their solidarity statement, they gave a shout out to Creativity Not Control:

This struggle is also being waged by some students who are mobilizing to join the boycott by answering ‘C’ for Creativity not control on all questions of the MAP test. For more information on the boycott please visit Creativity Not Control is a group of educators organizing to spread this boycott to schools in working class neighborhoods. They intend to pass out flyers on the boycott at two South End schools over the next two weeks.

via Solidarity with Seattle Teachers and Students Refusing Pointless Standardized Tests!.

We should prepare to reciprocate that solidarity if need be.  Oakland schools are currently  facing 7.6 million in cuts, and folks there are organizing against it.


One Response to “Shout Out From Oakland”

  1. johngarv March 3, 2013 at 1:29 am #

    Schooling in the communist society

    I think that what Noel has written is an important corrective to our tendency to take too much for granted about what might be considered permanent aspects of social life. After all, if we can imagine a world without money, why stop there? And I think that his description of learning all but completely embodied in everyday purposeful activities has a great deal to recommend it. It’s really good that children learn to talk before school (otherwise we’d have lots of talking-disabled kids) and that most people learn to cook at home, not in schools (although the results there are uneven)! There are many, perhaps most, things that should be learned as part of what might be broadly considered cultural activities (including work)—such as reading, writing, growing fruits and vegetables, cooking, scientific and mathematical thinking, caring for others, painting, singing, dancing. Some others not so—literature, history, geography, science, math, engineering, medicine, agriculture—these require formal study (excluding the occasional exception of the autodidacts). But those fields of study pay a terrible price when they lose all contact with the wisdom of the everyday—the tellers of tales, the midwives, the witches, the medicine men, the fishermen, the farmers, the assembly line workers.

    But, at a moment when scientific/technical knowledge is so central to the machine production of useful products (thereby creating the possibility of less work for all) and to the possibility of successfully addressing age-old problems of human well-being (such as a livable planet, illness, aging, disabilities), we cannot afford to discount the importance of the acquisition of high-level technical knowledge. Let’s keep in mind, however, that machinery is not so much a tool as it is an embodiment of human cooperation. Every achievement we can imagine is bound deeply to the work of ordinary humans.
    That kind of technical knowledge can seldom be acquired through cultural activities. We need schools of one kind or another—hopefully much more enlightened than the ones we currently have.

    So the question for now and for later is the balance between culturally grounded and formalized learning. I have no prescription to offer but it would be good if we could figure out ways to improve both. Beyond that, we need to keep in mind the need to promote the withering away of the distinction between mental and manual labor. The incorporation of learning into everyday doing is part of that but the opening up of intellectual/technical knowledge to all is also part of it. There may come a time when the overall level of knowledge and cultural sophistication is so high that all of these distinctions can be abolished. I hope to hear the reports of those developments from the after-life.

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