The Dangerous Delusions of Self-Directed Education

In our “free” society, schooling became a replacement for the development of material and social skills young people once learned in community, through apprenticeship, through experience with the natural world. In order to maintain schooling as an institution, these young people’s needs are provided for by parents, by the state, other external agents, and further mediated by the mechanisms of production (i.e. the supply chain). This allows young people, especially the racially and/or economically privileged young people overrepresented in SDE spaces, to exist in a bubble wherein they can choose — or “self-direct” into — activities far removed from what’s essential to their survival.

North Philly Peace Park and the Continuum of Black Struggle

All the things that North Philly Peace Park is, and will become, are part of a continuum of collective dreaming, striving, and will toward self-determination: the heart of all Black struggle. The life of Black people in this country has always been defined by the tension between our demand for sovereignty, and the violent refusal by the State at every juncture to entertain the mere idea. From the murder of Octavius Catto, situated at the center of a relentless campaign of anti-Black violence against our attempts to vote, to the institutionalized violence of the police, carceral system and the courts, any whiff of Black mobility or agency is met with full-throttled resistance by the State and its proxies. 

Net-Zero to Net-Positive: Toward a Real Education for Sustainability

The moment demands a mass mobilization of people and collective will. Which means bridging gaps: in knowledge, resources, understanding, and empathy. In our conversations, and in our work around sustainability, we have to integrate those things which support and affirm our rights to healthy, dignified lives, so we even have the capacity to take on something so grandiose as “saving the planet”.

One Educator’s Journey to Personal and Collective Liberation

At the end of last year, I published an article in the journal Transcontinental Human Trajectories, my first “official” publication. It is mostly a personal narrative — and I do mean personal — but it also lays out much of my educational philosophy, and sketches my initial trajectory from a school teacher to more of an activist. Although I didn’t use the term “school abolitionist” at the time, you can see the first inklings of that identity starting to crystallize.

New Perspectives, Same Voices: The Echo Chamber of Education Reform

That whole time, there were other voices, on the margins of academia and the political sphere - pushed there by the relentless power of the status quo and those who uphold it - who were already making the case Nick and Diane only just came to understand. There were teachers who understood it, even if they didn't have the vocabulary or the platform to make the case, or of they did, were quickly buried by the neoliberal demands of the system and punished for noncompliance.

Black Mandarin: Critical Speculations on Language and Power

A contemplation of the revolutionary potential of teaching black kids Mandarin. Beyond allowing black people to have more mobility within a new power structure, fluency in Mandarin would allow us to spread our own influence. Our revolutionary spirit writ large to resonate with people around the world…