a brave new pedagogy / by mrm

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” 
― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
I talk and write about education so much not only because I work in it, but because it's become a kind of failed state within our country. Fewer low-income students are graduating college than in decades, and high school graduation rates are sadly stratified along racial lines (check out California's data). Land of the free and home of the brave, right? It is hard to change education. It is especially hard to make sweeping change. But looking local, looking at where you live, and at what can be done right now, for this generation, well, some change is possible.

Which brings us to Grace Lee Boggs, who's been doing rocking work for radical education since at least the early 90s – and she's 96 herself. Wow. She lives in Detroit, and her current project is the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, whose mission is "to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities. Through local, national and international networks of activists, artists and intellectuals we foster new ways of living, being and thinking to face the challenges of the 21st century."

I've said here before that the patriarchy hurts everybody, and let's face it, school is often (usually) a place where students, male and female alike, are taught to accept the established order, to fall in line, and to perform within existing systems in order to be rewarded. So when I hear about a non-authoritarian, student-focused, community-empowerment-based system, it really warms the cockles of my heart.

(Cheers to Angie for today's topic.)

p.s. Special bonus at no extra cost: Grace wrote a book called Women and the Movement to Build a New America. I can't seem to get any decent information on it, but I sure do love the title.