Happy Fierce International Workers Rights Day!
A humane education is a RIGHT.
Livable wage is a RIGHT.
Having a people-driven Union is a RIGHT.
Bearing no fear of deportation, poverty, and violence is a RIGHT.
As Working Class Students, the fact that we are now directed to work strenuously hard to pass exams, go to college, take out loans to pay tuition, become unpaid interns, and work under corporate contacts to achieve, at the very least, a livable lifestyle is RIDICULOUS. As we are being rolled out into the world with a factory model of education, we are being made ready to work passively in a system sustained by our exploitation and silence.
School itself is a ginormous waste of time, a daycare to keep the youth somewhere they can be tracked and tamed, built on a facade of student growth. As students, we normalize being talked at by authorities. As students we are made to believe in the hegemony of corporate power instead of the power our own collective abilities have to create change the world.
What will make us more complicit to the injustices in our world than a faulty and dogmatic educational system?
This process can NEVER represent a liberating and fulfilling educational system.
And though it may be argued that education is a privilege. A dogmatic and stressful education can not be a privilege when it is merely oppressive and abusive-- an unwanted and uncontrollable beast in our lives which working class people are subjected to.
A humane education is a RIGHT. Livable wage is a RIGHT. Having a people-driven Union is a RIGHT. Bearing no fear of deportation, poverty, and violence is a RIGHT.
We want to bring back what makes us human, make education tailored for young creative minds not robots. We want our labor to benefit the community not the pockets of corporate leaders
We want what is ours--our land, institutions, and labor.
Who’s got the Power?
(We got the Power!)
What kind of Power?
(Union Power, Student Power, People Power)
Education is not a privilege.
Education is a human right.
Post by Benjamin Rosenblatt, a senior from Brooklyn Technical High School
Let’s start with pre-kindergarten.
Studies have shown that attending pre-kindergarten is extremely beneficial.According to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project, started in 1968, 70 percent of low-income black children who attended pre-kindergarten eventually graduated from high school, compared to 60 percent of those who did not. Children in pre-kindergarten were more likely to end up with higher IQ’s, more likely to own a home by the age of 27, more likely to have be employed and with higher wages, and less likely to be arrested for violent crimes. Universal public pre-kindergarten is achievable, important, and just plain right. Now let’s go to cost savings. The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project also found that for every $1 invested into pre-kindergarten programs, $8.74 are saved.
Moving to our middle schools and high schools,which have been overtaken by high-stakes standardized testing, states have started to implement the new federal Common Core State Standards Initiative, created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). PARCC has found that half of its member states will actually be paying more for standardized tests after implementing Common Core than they currently do. But what about whether or not Common Core actually works? Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch has noted that there is no evidence that Common Core will work. For example, in New York state, after implementing Common Core, test scores collapsed dramatically. Then there’s the fact that there is no evidence to support the idea that standardizing education, especially on a national level, will improve achievement, enrich education, and prepare young people for the challenges ahead.
Let’s roll back standardization of public schools. Let’s decrease class sizes, get more career teachers in the classroom, get rid of test-based teacher accountability, and provide more money for guidance counselors, arts and humanities courses, physical education and foreign languages, and more classes essential to a real education.
Now let’s look at college.
The big problem here is student loan debt. The amount of total student loan debt incurred in 2003 was about $240 billion. In 2013, it surpassed $1 trillion, and now exceeds both auto debt and credit card debt. College costs are rising at over four times the rate of inflation. In 2012, there were 38.8 million students borrowing money for college and the average student loan balance was $24,803. In 2010, 58% of all student loan debt was held by students from families making less than $8,500 per year. College students and their families have been thrown under the bus. Congress must find ways to make college more affordable and to reduce the burden on American students and their families. We must make a higher education more important and a higher priority than helping the big banks. The lowest interest rate students can find on loans is about 3.8%. What interest rate do the big banks have to pay on their loans? 0.75%. Education cannot be taken over by private corporations in search of money. Pre-kindergarten must be available to all students and families, not just the wealthy ones who can afford it.
Middle schools and high schools must have a well-rounded curriculum, suited to local needs, lower class sizes, and no test-based teacher accountability. College must be more affordable, college graduates should not be slaves to the large banks and corporations from whom they’ve taken their loans for the rest of their lives, and banks should not be paying so much less on their loans than college students.
Education is not a privilege. Education is a human right.
Sources: http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Pre-kindergarten/Pre-Kindergarten http://www.fairtest.org/common-core-assessments-factsheethttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/common-core-fallacy_b_3809159.html http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/06/student-loan-debt-charts
Post by Gabriela Vidas, a senior from Long Island City High School in Queens, NY
High School, oh what a euphemism!
The institution that consumes four years of an individual's life is the stepping stone or breaking point in many adolescents' lives. It has influenced my introspection and my maturity. In high school I have encountered the pressures of reality that caused the fibers of my being to decay. My history teacher explained America’s neutral involvement in WWI. However, I saw an absence of logic. It was non-credible for one nation to be neutral since trading with their Allies- if there is an ally, there is a foe. My parents grew-up in former Communist Yugoslavia thus I was privileged to grow-up with un-biased objectivities and in order to truly understand history I must understand interpretations. Yet, high school did not teach me that. Instead, I questioned the validity of my teachers’ teachings. Due to these teachings my desire for school was adrift, yet passions for knowledge consumed me. I questioned the material world I inhabited, and dreamed of becoming a diplomat for the United Nations. Even at a young age was I aware of corrupted, misguided people and their ability to pollute my thoughts. However, the teachers were corrupt because of their environment that conditioned them to think a certain way and were disillusioned by the matrix.
Fearing of becoming a robot, I questioned the education system. I came to the epiphany that my individuality was being restricted and my thinking was narrow. Due to the modern norms of society, education appears as though conforming was my only option. The drive to succeed scholastically somewhat diminished my social life. Admittedly, my social life was inoperative, since I had identical daily routines. My agenda consisted of going through the motions of going to school, regurgitating information and complying to authority but my focus to be an intellectual role model still remained. I started to suffocate in my own desire to understand a deeper meaning and relinquished my autonomy as a creative being, but school restricted that growth. It is a constant reminder of how monotonous life can be. This led me to perceive important things in my life differently, and value myself as an individual. It was almost as if all of a sudden deep thoughts were spilling out into my awareness. My constant questioning ranges from the “Is the universe actually a hologram?” to “What will the world's reaction be to my reformation?” Challenging my neurons with such a question thrills me. For a reason unknown to me, these feelings felt as though they were hiding in my subconscious looking for a change to arise. From then on I became a cynic.
It was better for me to find my own answers and make an educated decision, than to intentionally remain ignorant and be forced to make a decision out of fear. I no longer take things at face value, but try to understand the meaning behind everything, and most importantly, I have learned how to understand myself. Thoughts of collaboration are forever streaming into my consciousness. The nature of my indoctrination; knowledge without wisdom- absolutely undeniably biased with regards to favoring the left brain over the right brain. Literally all of the core subjects are left brain based subjects. Now just based simply on this one framework, I synthesized that the education system whether purposely or coincidentally is labeling half of my brain as essential and the other half of my brain as optional. I questioned matters of the Universe, Science, Religion, and life in general. We're all different, but equal. I worried that mankind does not understand humanity. I hope to balance conventional wisdom with fresh perspective, irony, and the occasional sarcastic observation. If only my thoughts were incorporated to a productive lifestyle could I have done something of greater importance. In fact the real thinker is gone and only a lifeless statue is left behind put together by the unknown warrior perhaps.