Education under attack

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ikosmos ikosmos's picture
Education under attack

Monthly Review has a special summer issue on Education Under Fire. Their issue, however, deals mainly with the US in a kind of warning for the rest of the world.

It's inspired me to have a look around for similar material from other parts of the world. And I found some with the Greek CP which is very, very interesting.

Have a good read, raise issues here - these are not just youth or student issues but I thought this would be a good place for such a thread.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Education Under Fire - Monthly Review

MR wrote:
... education is under fire within much of global capitalist society. Rather than a revolution of pedagogy from below along Freire's lines, as part of a general transformation of society, what we are seeing is the exact opposite - the marketization and privatization of education from above.

Some of the European Communist Parties, with the lead taken by the Greek CP, have been meeting on this very issue over the past 5 years or so. The attacks on education in Europe are one of the issues that they are all concerned about.

Education Meeting and remarks by KKE leader Aleka Papariga

Papariga wrote:
We believe that the conclusions from our meeting will be useful to communist parties on other continents. Without reactionary reforms in the education system, EU and international imperialism cannot aspire to bring the cost of the labour force to the lowest possible level or hope that it will be able to prevent radicalism and the impulse to create a break with the system.

The changes in education are dictated by the more general difficulties faced by the capitalist system in reproducing social capital with the same comparative ease it has had in the past. For the EU as well, these changes reflect the needs of intra-imperialist competition with the USA and other strong imperialist countries, as laid down by the Lisbon EU Summit in 2000.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The Kids Are NOT Alright - Relentlessly Progressive blog

Quote:
As is well-known, young people are still bearing the brunt of the recession. The employment rate for youth aged 15-24 last month was 55.6%, well down from 60.3% back before the recession in September, 2008 due to an increase in unemployment and an increase in those not looking for work. And the proportion of youth in part-time jobs has risen....

The total number of youth at home rose by 55,400 or 1.8% between 2008 and 2010. This may partly reflect a move back home by those who have finished their studies or lost their jobs.

As shown, the number of youth at home in full-time jobs has fallen by 94,000, or by 12.8%, and the number who are not looking for jobs has risen by 106,700 or 9.6%. This likely reflects trends primarily among the older part of the age group.

In short, if your kids are in the basement, you are far from alone.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Great thread, ikosmos.

Via Holly Stick at Bread n Roses:

Bruce Carson and the Harper Government™’s Privatization of Science and Research

Quote:
In The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan wrote that around half of scientists in the world at some point find themselves at least partially dependent on the military to fund their research — and that this is a problem. Today, that’s still true. But another serious problem is the privatization of “public” scientific research. Under the Harper Government™ this has proceeded on three fronts, one of which has occupied most of this blog’s attention recently.

At major research institutions around the country, a profound change is taking place. Programs are being taken over by corporatists — not just administrators with an inadequate knowledge of the gritty details. Objectives are being quietly altered to reflect commercial priorities rather than basic scientific ones, which often can’t guarantee short-term industrial applications. Some important research programs that have so far thrived in the public sector are simply being handed over to the private sector on the dubious grounds that they will somehow run them more effectively. In at least one case I’ll discuss, these have an enormous added cost which won’t appear anywhere in the contracts

I’ll start here with the first of these. It’s hard to tackle the first point (management transition) and the second point (goal shift) separately, because of course they’re tightly related. But I’m going to lead with the first anyway, because it allows me to pick up where I left off with the latest posts in my ongoing series on Conservative fraudster Bruce Carson. Bruce is one such insurgent administrator, at the Canada School of Energy and Environment. He has no background in science. Yet we are supposed to believe that a rigorous “international search” by the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, and the University of Lethbridge found him and his deputy director, Zoe Addington, best qualified to head what was supposed to be a cutting-edge clean energy research centre....

SSHRC’s senior staff still consists of civil servants and academics, like president Chad Gaffield (a historian, I’m pleased to say). But the Council has distinctly changed. Back in 2004, there were 22 members, including fifteen university academics (one of them a business professor), an independent scholar, a newspaper publisher, and a foundation rep. The president was a Quebec sociologist, and the vice-president was from an NGO that did social policy research in Newfoundland.

Today we’re down to 16 members. The president is still a historian, but the vice-president, Thomas Kierans, is a financial executive who used to lead the C.D. Howe Institute. They are joined by a second ex-C.D. Howe Institute executive with a financial background, two lawyers, two more businessmen, two supposed “professors” on the tail end of careers in corporate management, a Montreal charity executive, and just six academics, one of them inexplicably imported from NSERC and another of whom has been funded by the Donner Canadian Foundation. Basically, the voting bloc that decides SSHRC policy over its $300 million in annual grants has completely shifted, in just five years, from universities to corporations. Is it any wonder SSHRC tried to force through a pro-business policy change?

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

This trend is much the same in Europe, with variations, and points to the general crisis in capitalism that overlaps with the cannibalization of the public sector for profit taking as new educational markets are virtually handed over to private sector interests.

Quote:
This explains why education restructuring, in spite of differences in pace and methods in each country, has common characteristics, like the following:

1. The expansion of privatization, by decreasing the state expenses on education and by transferring the cost of education straight to learners and their families; also by the intrusion of private entrepreneurs into fundamental operations of education of all levels, beginning with Higher Education. This privatization entails the operation of state education units on competitive, private-sector criteria, as well as the pursuit of means of self-financing, through the profiteering invasion of the private sector as "sponsors".

2. The strengthening of selection mechanisms and of class barriers aiming at the social selection of the elite, and the exclusion of the majority of students to short term vocational, instead of systematic, broad education; also, aiming at the division and classification of students of all levels in class differentiated categories and forms of education and training.

3. The narrowing of general education and the flagrant commercialization and downgrading of knowledge through the substitution of mass education by individual forms of "life-long learning", utilitarian skills and subservient "competencies", for life-long wandering between training and unemployment.

4. Discrimination against immigrants, nationalistic and chauvinistic stances, the defamation of peoples and other cultures by promoting in the same time "euro-nationalism".

5. The complete perversion of the social mission of science through the control of its orientation, direction, and even its results, by the monopolies and imperialist organizations (NATO, EU), which interfere in a flagrant way and determine the scientific activity of universities and research institutions.

6. Systematic measures of obscurity, of anti-dialectic outlook on social evolution, of distortion and defamation of the national-liberating, social, antifascist and class oriented struggles, as well as attempts for the penalization of any resistance and any progressive and communist ideology.

These parties understandably draw attention as well to the recent European attempts to revive and restart anti-communist campaigns, to idenfity Hitlerite genocide and Holocaust with crimes under socialism (i.e., Hitler = Stalin), to silence alternative views, and so on. See their joint statement for more on that. There is also the intervention of the KKE on that.

Press Release, EDU Meeting of (some) Communist Parties in Europe - April 2006

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

In the MR issue, there is a 40 year old article by Grace Lee Boggs which has been reprinted. It's still worth reading. The following quote shows one of the subtle ways that a scientific education can be undermined .

Grace Lee Boggs wrote:
The experience of performance is necessary to learning. Only through doing things and evaluating what they have done can human beings learn intrinsic relationships between cause and effect, thereby developing the capacity to reason. If they are prevented from learning the intrinsic consequences of their own choices of ends and means and made totally dependent on such extrinsic effects as rewards and punishments, they are being robbed of their right to develop into reasoning human beings.

And in Greece, something similar is remarked ...

Quote:
In September 2006, continuing its measures to promote lifelong learning, the EU laid down a framework of basic capabilities that all pupils must acquire as "preparation for adult life", i.e. employability training as disciplined and flexible workers in the future that capitalists have in store for most young people ...

In Greece, as in most other EU countries, the implementation of this directive is already underway. The new curricula and textbooks for compulsory education that were designed by PASOK and put in place by the ND government conceal the toughest offensive in recent years aiming to disorganise and control pupils' thought. Language teaching is limited to a superficial communications function. CVs, instructions for the use of household appliances, recipes, SMS and advertising slogans have displaced higher forms of discourse such as literature, poetry and anything in general that might conduce to deeper thoughts and feelings among pupils. The teaching of mathematics, instead of helping the pupil to form a scientific view of reality and its laws, cultivates confusion and uncertainty through the chaotic arrangement of the subject matter, the downplaying of rules, and the insistence on rough calculations. The postmodern teaching of history, in the name of eliminating the conflicts between peoples, in order to subjugate them to almighty capital, is trying to erase from our people's memory any useful fact about our history, such as the national liberation struggle of 1821. The unscientific and theological interpretations of social and natural phenomena are gaining ever more ground in the material taught in the schools, while fundamental scientific theories, such as that of Darwin and the atomic theory in chemistry, are relegated to the sidelines. The US Pentagon, the CIA, financial dealings and commercial transactions, euros and dollars, fast food, shopping centres and department stores are all part of the wonderful world of the new school textbooks and curricula, which will supposedly link school with life. The fragmentation of pupils' thought, ostensibly to combat this very phenomenon, culminates in the so-called "cross-thematic integration" approach to knowledge and the limited teaching of distinct subjects. According to "cross-thematic integration", instead of pupils being taught language, physics, mathematics, etc. in a systematic and integrated way, they will be given some idea about all of these, and will take them up later again on some occasion through the processing of a theme that will supposedly be examined "globally" from the viewpoint of various subjects.

Cross-thematic integration activities, to which the EU contributes generously through various training programmes (training of the consumer, environmental education, hygiene training, traffic behaviour, etc.), provide the most favourable field for ideological manipulation. For this reason, they represent an educational paradise for the sponsoring companies of all types that are infiltrating the schools everywhere to broadcast, freely and shamelessly, their reactionary messages about competitiveness, entrepreneurship, class collaboration, individual responsibility and racism.

Auto companies advertise "safe driving", contraceptive companies address "safe sex", etc., and the infiltration of commercial interests into the schools continues.

2nd European Meeting - KKE contribution

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/johnbon/2011/06/universities-increasingl... Bonnar's rabble blog[/url] talks about the growing corporatization of Canadian universities as public funding is cut.

But even when public funding is increased, it is often tied to enlisting the universities in the service of corporations. For example, Obama recently [url=http://chronicle.com/article/Obama-Calls-on-University/128023/]announced a half-billion-dollar funding package[/url] designed to boost research in production and manufacturing methods at US universities - essentially corporate welfare for the benefit of companies who won't have to fund their own R&D research as a result.

And, as always, this latest corporate welfare is justified as expenditure on "creating jobs" (as if employing workers is a net expense to the capitalists - requiring a government handout - rather than the very source of their profits). And "progressive" Canadian economists, [url=http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/progressive-economics-forum/2011/06/use-... by rabble[/url], are calling for similar publicly-funded R&D by the Harper government, again in the name of job creation.

Loretta

Isn't there a correlation between education levels and voting choices? A cynical person might wonder if the public education system is being undermined so as to maintain lower levels of education and thus, influence voting patterns toward the right.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

It's not a single simple factor like that driving the whole attack on education.

There's privatization and the cannibalization of a new area of the public sector for profit taking;

There's the political angle of silencing alternative views in academia;

There's the premature segregation of students, most of whom are destined for an inferior education and inferior employment over a lifetime;

There's the perversion of science into service for the military and pre-determined corporate-friendly conclusions;

There is the economic crisis and how our economic system responds to that crisis; this last one is perhaps the broadest perspective in that it is more strategic in perspective. Here, one would look at the whole system and how it reproduces itself, how it reproduces a labour force and what sort of labour force it now wants, based on technological and other changes, and how it wants to reduce the cost of that labour force to as low a level as possible. And then maybe we might add that factors like inter-imperialist rivalry over new global markets (in education) and the fact that it is more difficult to reproduce the labour force (or what they now call "social capital" or "human capital") than it was in the past.

Putting profits before people does harm to the educational system but I would argue that the profits are the goal and a destroyed educational system is the consequence. But why is it worse now? There's always been capitalism. And so on. What's new?

The other thing I believe is critical is what's all the analysis for, anyway? To fight back, I say. And, furthermore, to link educational fightbacks across the globe and together with other fightbacks of the labour movement. To win the struggle.

For me, ultimately, and here I agree with the Greek Communists, "Education placed firmly at the centre of political action is correct since, among the reasons, it is one of the pre-eminent issues demonstrating the necessity and timeliness of socialism."

Of course, not everyone who is clear about the necessity of fighting back against the educational attacks, or even those clear on the necessity of elaborating an alternative vision of education agrees with me here. It's a question for socialists like myself to demonstrate this, in the course of the struggle, as people come to develop a deeper understanding of social life and come to see that even temporary victories can only be made permanent by fundamental social change that democratizes social life in a permanent way.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Vancouver has an interesting alternative means of progressive education going on right now ...

Purple Thistle Institute Thrives in East Van

Quote:
Over the last week, a new experiment in learning has begun in Vancouver, where participants split their waking hours between lectures about the history of capitalism and work placements that have them digging in the dirt. The occasion is the first ever Purple Thistle Institute, a three week long foray into alternative ways of learning and collaborative pedagogy....

Valuing manual labour and intellectual labour on the same playing field challenges the class system, says Meza-Wilson, especially in a society where divisions between these two types of labour are so significant. "Imagine if all schools were set up like that," he said. "It has powerful ramifications."

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

More positive stuff.

Quote:
The truth is that concerned parents and citizens, especially in deindustrialized cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia, are beginning to resolve this crisis by making a paradigm shift in the U.S. concept of education. John Dewey, this country's most important social philosopher, advocated this paradigm shift many years ago. His vision of a more democratic educational system was widely known and discussed prior to the Second World War. But as long as U.S. industry was flourishing, it was marginalized.

The U.S. educational system, Dewey explained, is too top-down. It is undemocratic. It disempowers children, stifles their natural tendencies to explore, to manipulate tools, and to construct and create. It is a sorting mechanism with standards, goals, tests, and sordid comparisons, rooted in an attitude of acquisitiveness or the capitalist ethos. It separates the school and schoolchildren from the community.

The following article by Julia Pointer Putnam tells the story of how the deindustrialization of Detroit has made Dewey's more democratic view of education an idea whose time has come.

The author makes reference to the approach of Grace Lee Boggs and notes

Quote:
Grace advocates a type of learning known as Place-Based Education (or Community-Based Education), where the local community and environment serve as a starting point to teach concepts in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and other subjects across the curriculum. This approach diminishes the boundaries that have been built up between schools and the community. Place-Based Education emphasizes the ability of young people to learn by addressing the real-life problems around them.

This community approach is quite different from the way we think of school today, when the general message is that children go to school to get a job or to advance their individual fortunes. Education is limited to youth, who are socialized to view the world as a competitive market. We fail to recognize how this system has created generation after generation of adults who are ill prepared to approach our mounting societal problems with true creativity or with an idea toward the collective.

Oh yeah. Here, the contrast between the factory model paradigm of education and a community-based alternative is very stark.

Another Education is Happening

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Quote:
"Students want the national government to take over the public school system, where 90 percent of the country's 3.5 million students are educated.

The nationwide school system was broken up during the 1973-1990 military regime and handed over to municipal authorities. Protesters say the current system results in deep inequalities and is underfunded."

In Chile, ...

Quote:
Protests have been mounting since Pinera, the first center-right president to govern Chile since the country returned to democracy in 1990, earlier in the year announced wide-ranging education spending cuts.

Pinera has said the cuts are needed to trim the government's bloated bureaucracy, even as the country's economy is experiencing a six percent annual growth rate.

Even when the economy is growing, the neoliberals want to cut education.

 

Sven Sven's picture

ikosmos wrote:

Purple Thistle Institute Thrives in East Van

[quote from link]

"There are lots of Thistle kids interested in university, but who are turned off by the corporatization, the tepid curriculum, the gross cost, and the lack of employment at the end," said Matt Hern, co-founder of the Institute.

Well, it depends on what you get your degree in.  If it's religion, art history, Latin, philosophy, or English lit, for example, the prospects for finding a job in your field are going to be different than if you get a degree in engineering, Chinese, economics, or nursing.  My advice to a prospective Latin student, for example, would be, "If you want to study Latin because you think you'd really enjoy it and find the course work challenging and fulfilling, then, by all means, go for it!  But, do not expect to find a job in that field or waste time being bitter than you can't find a job in that field when you graduate."

I have a 28 year old niece who got a degree in fine arts.  She waits tables, sells jewelry at art festivals, and works part time as an airline steward (on the crappy puddle-jumper routes).  And, she has no money...and is a bit bitter about college.  Her 32-year old brother got a degree in biology and then went to dental school and is doing very well in his own practice.

My sister is a Registered Nurse and she can pretty much work anywhere in the country she wants.

Not all education is equal.  Thistle would be doing their students a huge service if Thistle could successfully convey that simple concept to Thistle's students.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

What a strange criticism. It's almost as if you only read the headline and didn't bother to read the linked article.

In particular, the Purple Thistle Institute is an alternative to formal education involving work placements, empowering learning approaches that involve the students in deciding the collaborative pedagogy (rather than the spoon-feeding so typical of disempowering banking concepts of education), in which both manual and intellectual labour are valued (rather than the deliberate and typical wall between the two types), and the students learn about the society they live in (history of capitalism) rather than decontextualized learning that is completely divorced from social understanding.

So it really looks like you didn't bother to read the linked article. Maybe you could do that now.

Of course, the criticism is wrong-headed in general; if students fail to get a general education in their previous schooling, an education that arms them to be informed and active citizens in their society, then it is very valuable indeed that they get that general education wherever and whenever they can. Training people for a profession in no way replaces that very important task. The savage neo-liberal cuts to education in Europe going on right now reflect this socially irresponsible and conservative ideology.

Of course, if a person has contempt for a good general education, and would rather have a society of unconcerned drones, like themselves, then such ideas as those of the Purple Thistle Institute would appear alien and odd.

Sven Sven's picture

ikosmos wrote:

Of course, if a person has contempt for a good general education, and would rather have a society of unconcerned drones, like themselves, then such ideas as those of the Purple Thistle Institute would appear alien and odd.

I don't have a contempt for a good general education.

My point with respect to jobs is the misplaced expectation that many university students have that simply getting a degree should result in them getting a job that makes use of that degree, regardless of what subject the student studies.  If a student's primary purpose in getting a university degree is to get a job, then choosing a degree that employers will value is of paramount importance.  On the other hand, if a student's primary purpose in getting a university degree is to get a good, general liberal arts education, then the student should do that, but with the understanding that getting such a degree may have little benefit in securing a job.

In other words, students need to have realistic expectations of what any particular degree can and cannot do for them, both at a personal-enrichment level and at a vocational level.  Degrees are not fungible.

Oh, and just because someone has a science-related (or other technical) university degree doesn't turn them into "unconcerned drones".  At my company, we employee about 600 scientific, engineering, and other technical people, who have bachelor degrees, master degrees, and PhDs, and I wouldn't label any of them as "unconcerned drones" simply because they didn't necessarily get a minor in English lit, sociology, or poli sci.  Many of them are like one of my brothers (a PhD in microbiology who is a voracious reader of a wide-range of political, social, and historical writings -- and an endless source of good and challenging conversation).

Sven Sven's picture

On a subject slightly different subject than bachelor degrees, I have a lot of prospective law students ask me about going to law school.  I recently relayed to a friend of mine who is a dean at a law school what my general advice is:

Sven wrote:

A person should only consider law school if (A) she is independently wealthy, (B) she is prepared to live in a relatively low income bracket for many, many years (and is prepared to do that because she is certain she will love the practice of law), or (C) she has a marketable and relevant undergrad (or other graduate) degree that will add real and significant value to a J.D. in the job market.  Does it mean that a person not falling in one of those categories will not be successful?  Of course not.  But, for every one of them, there'll be at least ten who will be bitter about their mountain of debt and their lack of opportunity.

In the meantime, droves of people continue to flock to law school -- with bleak job prospects awaiting them when they graduate.  That results from two failures: (1) Not enough adults (starting with the law schools themselves) honestly telling prospective law students what they can realistically expect upon graduation and (2) a failure of most student to do even elementary and basic due diligence regarding what they are getting into (it's like, "Oh, I think I'll go to law school!!").  I think both of those two points apply to undergraduate degrees as well.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

School Wars - A Labor Notes Special Report

Quote:
A handful of conservative billionaires with enormous political and media savvy are leading an all-out war on public education and its unionized teachers. Their initiative is part of a broader attack on all public services and public employee unions. This special section on the following pages outlines the attacks and explores alternatives.

Here is the link to the .pdf file noted above.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Ok, so linking to the Purple Thistle Institute really had no bearing on your general point. It was a gratuitous link in which you failed to connect your criticism of the usefulness of a good general education to that institution. 

Too bad.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

BUMP. There are more articles available on the latest MR issue for those interested.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Chile student protests explode into violence

Riot police clash with protesters calling for education reform as anger with Sebastiàn Piñera's government boils over

Friday 5 August 2011

It began as a series of peaceful protests calling for reform of the Chilean government's education system, with students staging mass kiss-ins, dressing up in superhero costumes and running laps around the presidential palace. But on Thursday these surreal protests exploded into violence as school and university students clashed with police and seized a TV station, demanding the right to a live broadcast in order to express their demands....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/05/chile-student-protests-violence

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

100,000 march for free education in Chile.

Morning Star wrote:
One hundred thousand people took to the streets of Chile on Tuesday to press the government to provide state-funded high-quality education for all.

Students, teachers and copper miners marched peacefully in Santiago and elsewhere for the fifth time in two months to demand that Chilean President Sebastian Pinera's right-wing administration scrap tuition fees and establish a "free and equal" education system.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Matt Damon's Clear Headed Speech to Teachers' Rally

 

Matt Damon wrote:
I flew overnight from Vancouver to be with you today. I landed in New York a few hours ago and caught a flight down here because I needed to tell you all in person that I think you're awesome.

I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn't trade that education and experience for anything.

I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself - my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity - all come from how I was parented and taught.

And none of these qualities that I've just mentioned - none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success - none of these qualities that make me who I am ... can be tested.

I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that's true. But it's more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn't taken up with a bunch of test prep - this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn't promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.

Now don't get me wrong. I did have a brush with standardized tests at one point. I remember because my mom went to the principal's office and said, ‘My kid ain't taking that. It's stupid, it won't tell you anything and it'll just make him nervous.' That was in the '70s when you could talk like that.

I shudder to think that these tests are being used today to control where funding goes.

I don't know where I would be today if my teachers' job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.

I honestly don't know where I'd be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn't be here. I do know that.

This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can't imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I'm not alone. There are millions of people just like me.

So the next time you're feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called "overpaid;" the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that's been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. ... Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.

Right On, Matt Damon!!!

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

BCTF wrote:
We like to think dreams can come true. And we work every day to help students across BC work towards their dreams. We thought it would be fun to give you a way to create a dream for yourself, a relative or friend... share that dream on Facebook... and keep it as a memento to look back on in a few years time. It's also a way for you to support us in standing up for better learning environments for all BC students.

Inspiring Futures dot ca

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Chile: students lay out plans for more protests

Written by Weekly News Update on the Americas

Friday, 19 August 2011 09:23

Source: Weekly News Update on the Americas

After a six-hour meeting on Aug. 13 at the University of Concepción in Chile's central Biobío region, leaders of the Chilean Student Confederation (CONFECH) announced their rejection of a government proposal for talks to resolve more than two months of militant protests for reform of the educational system. Instead, CONFECH leaders said they would push ahead with a series of actions they had announced the day before: a nationwide one-day school strike on Aug. 18; participation in a 48-hour general strike on Aug. 24 and 25 called by the Unified Workers Confederation (CUT), the main Chilean labor federation; and continued pressure on the government of rightwing president Sebastián Piñera at least until Sept. 11, the anniversary of the bloody coup that started the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Camila Vallejo, president of the Federation of University of Chile Students (FECH), denied rumors that there were splits in the movement. "It's been ratified by many organizations, not just in universities but also in secondary schools, that the mobilizations will go on,” she said....

ruth67

http://monthlyreview.org/2011/07/01/education-under-fire-introduction

 

a very good article thank you for sharing

a great positive influence could gear our world into a beneficial direction for all if a new system of what is considered true education could be installed....

Sineed

Loretta wrote:
Isn't there a correlation between education levels and voting choices? A cynical person might wonder if the public education system is being undermined so as to maintain lower levels of education and thus, influence voting patterns toward the right.

I have long thought that about the US, where privatization of education and underfunding of public schools has left millions of Americans seeming to lack the capacity for critical thinking, leading to President GW Bush, national icons like Sarah Palin, and the whole Tea Party thing.

ruth67

ikosmos wrote:

Monthly Review has a special summer issue on Education Under Fire. Their issue, however, deals mainly with the US in a kind of warning for the rest of the world.

It's inspired me to have a look around for similar material from other parts of the world. And I found some with the Greek CP which is very, very interesting.

Have a good read, raise issues here - these are not just youth or student issues but I thought this would be a good place for such a thread.

 

 

I absolutely agree that these are not just youth or student issues

 

from one of the articles you posted here 

1)
We find a growing fight-back based on the principle that all human
beings are of incalculable value and that life in a just and free
society must be geared toward and powered by a profoundly radical
idea: that the fullest development of all human beings—regardless of
race or ethnicity, origin or background, gender identity, ability or
disability—is the necessary condition for the full development of each
person; and, conversely, the fullest development of each is the
condition for the full development of all.

2)
In a free society, i.e., a society that promotes human freedom,
students would be able to think for themselves and develop minds of
their own, to make judgments based on evidence and argument, and to
build capacities for exploration and invention. They would be
encouraged then to ask the most fundamental and essential questions
that are, like the young themselves, always in motion, dynamic, and
never twice the same:
* Who in the world am I?
* How did I get here and where am I going?
* What in the world are my choices and my chances?
* What did I learn that the teacher did not know?
* What is my story, and how is it like or unlike the stories of
others?
* What is my responsibility to those others?

3)
Teaching in this political moment of economic instability and
political reaction is both a challenge and a gift, for this moment
embodies what educators, beginning with early childhood teachers, have
always called “a teachable moment."

Teachable moments are times of disequilibrium and dislocation, times
when lesson plans are thrown into doubt and newness can enter, times
when the predictable and the commonplace are recognized as inadequate
and fresh, and startling winds can blow, for teachers no less than for
students.

The teachable moment aligns neatly with a certain kind of pedagogy,
one that does not know the answers and is compelled to improvise with
the unfinished, the contingent, and the surprising/unforeseen.

http://monthlyreview.org/2011/07/01/education-under-fire-introduction

 

thanks again for this link Im storing it in my bunker :)

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The lead essay/introduction in the special issue makes it clear that Monthly Review will be returning to this subject again and again. With this issue they have published 2 articles that are available online only, with one more to be published in the Septemeber issue. I sent them a note with some comments and one of their staff replied saying that I should write it up and submit it to Monthly Review Zine. No time, however, to get it into the shape I would like.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

KKE or Greek Communist Party wrote:
The government of the social democrat party of PASOK brought to the Parliament a draft law on Higher Education that demolishes the remnants of public Education, dismantles the studies and transforms universities into limited companies.

Higher Education is handed over to business interests ...

This is what social democrats do in Greece.

Quote:
With the support of the Social-democratic PASOK, the conservative ND and the nationalist-racist LAOS, the draft law was passed by the parliament, which will lead to the further commercialisation and the abolition of free Higher Education. University research will not have a general and universal value and its implementation will be dictated by the ambitions of the capitalists to make faster profits.

Meanwhile, speaking in parliament, the Prime Minister of Greece and President of the Socialist International G. Papandreou, in an attempt to defend the new law slid once again into anti-communism and anti-Sovietism by characterising the current status quo in the Greek universities as "Soviet", and that it must be abolished.

In response, Aleka Papariga, GS of the CC of the KKE noted that the Prime Minister distorted reality and made the following points about the Soviet educational system:

"Firstly, the student before he or she finished, in the final year before they acquired their degree, knew where they would go to work.

You did not get your degree and then have to look through the adverts and opportunities in the newspapers to find work. Of course, this is not to the Prime Minister's liking.

Secondly the specialisation which was provided by the socialist university was based on an all-round level of knowledge- philosophical, mathematical, linguistic, literary- which not only gave a educational level to the scientists, regardless of the specialisation of his degree, but also provided him with serious and contemporary capabilities, so that when this learning loses its value- because this can indeed occur and today very rapidly- he can be re-educated, through of course a public, social, socialist education system, so that he does not remain behind the developments and so that he does not have knowledge which has become obsolete". A. Papariga stressed.

The GS of the CC of the KKE, after expressing the opposition of the party to the reactionary new draft law emphasized that the communists will be at the forefront so that the organised mass movement-the labour, people's and student movement- which seeks to obstruct the measures, to fight so that law is not implemented in their entirety or at least in relation to its basic axes.

The Students' Struggle Front (MAS) together with the All-workers Militant Front (PAME) on the 24/8 carried out rallies and protest demonstrations in Athens and other major Greek cities.

Pathological anti-communism as a justification for savage cuts to education. This is what Greek social democrats do .. .with the enthusiastic support of Greek Conservatives ... and racists. uh huh.

Greek Social Democrats, Conservatives and racists working together for common cause ... to gut public education.

 

ruth67

ikosmos wrote:

The lead essay/introduction in the special issue makes it clear that Monthly Review will be returning to this subject again and again. With this issue they have published 2 articles that are available online only, with one more to be published in the Septemeber issue. I sent them a note with some comments and one of their staff replied saying that I should write it up and submit it to Monthly Review Zine. No time, however, to get it into the shape I would like.

 

I dont have time at this moment to comment on your last post (this is an extremely important thread)

if you are willing I would be more than happy to read your comments to the monthly review, is it possible you could post them here?

thank you!

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

This is what I wrote ...

MR Editorial wrote:
This is not meant, however, to ignore the rest of the world, but to constitute a warning of what may be in the offing for much of the global population-since the United States is the fountainhead of neoliberal policy.... education is under fire within much of global capitalist society.... Yet, the global struggle in this area is only just beginning and remains undetermined. The final outcome will depend to a considerable degree on the actions we take now.

The attack on education has been taking place around the globe and under the EU as well for some time now. The issue has been so important for the socialist left in Europe that, despite other very important issues, a group of European Communist Parties have been meeting on this particular issue since 2006. There are a number of excellent documents that are worth looking at, a summary of which would serve as a good piece in Monthly Review. Such an article might productively draw attention to aspects of the reactionary reforms, taking place in the EU, that are not covered in the MR articles on this issue so far.

April 2006 - 1st EDU meeting

http://inter.kke.gr/IntAct/int-meet/edumeeting/

March 2007 - 2nd EDU meeting

http://inter.kke.gr/IntAct/int-meet/2007--2edumeeting

May 2008 - 3rd EDU meeting

http://inter.kke.gr/IntAct/int-meet/3edu2008

February 2010 - 4th EDU meeting

 

Edited to add: In particular, I thought that the following remark from the leader of the Greek CP, Aleka Papariga, was critical:

Quote:
We believe that the conclusions from our meeting will be useful ... on other continents. Without reactionary reforms in the education system, EU and international imperialism cannot aspire to bring the cost of the labour force to the lowest possible level or hope that it will be able to prevent radicalism and the impulse to create a break with the system.

I interpret this to mean that education may very well be the part of the economy and social life that can be a "wedge" to break and smash the neo-liberal project of placing the entire burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of ordinary people and help to move forward to a genuine alternative to the barbaric juggernaut of war, environmental collapse, and hopelessness. I don't think the MR authors have shown enough clarity on this; education becomes THE issue or the lever to defeat the right wing. Few people have elaborated any ideas about how to turn the terrible tide that damages all boats.

Looking more deeply at the substance of the confrontation today, we see that it is over the purpose of education.

Greek CP wrote:
The bourgeois class wants education to prepare people who will adjust to given social forms obediently and passively. We want education that will create people capable of changing the world, and of making it better.

The pro-capitalist view is morally bankrupt and spiritually impoverished. This is maybe one of the strongest arguments, simply put, demonstrating "the necessity and timeliness of socialism". I think the Greek CP has it right.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Tue, 30/08/2011

Massive Protests in Honduras against the Privatization of Education - 1 activist killed!

After four weeks secondary students continue to occupy schools across Honduras to protest what they say is an effort to privatize much of the public education system. Nahúm Alexander Guerra, a student at the Pompilio Ortega Agricultural School in Macuelizo in the northwestern department of Santa Bárbara, was killed the night of Aug. 22 as he stood by the door of the school, which the students had occupied. An unidentified man yelled "strikers," and shot the teenager in the chest and in the arm. (El Tiempo, San Pedro Sula, Aug. 23)

Just as this homicide was perpetrated by “unknown individuals”, the ex-governor of the State of Florida, Jeb Bush, was making a speech at the Regional Conference on Central America: “Quality Education and Social Development: the challenge for governments and citizens of Central America”, promoted by the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL, in Spanish)....

http://www.emancipating-education-for-all.org/education_protests_hondura...

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Teachers Determined to Make a Difference in this round of bargaining.

BCTF wrote:
As the new school year begins, BC teachers are disappointed that the employer has not returned to the bargaining table with a mandate to invest in public education through enhanced funding for services to students and a fair increase to wages and benefits for teachers.

Despite an April 2011 Supreme Court decision that ruled BC Liberal laws stripping class-size and composition clauses to be unconstitutional, the provincial government has done nothing to rectify the situation. By removing class-size limits and guarantees of services to students with special needs, the contract-stripping legislation enabled the government to cut vast sums each year from the education budget: an annual amount equivalent to $336 million in 2011 dollars.

"These funds have been illegally taken away from students, from teachers, and from the public education system," said Susan Lambert, president of the BC Teachers' Federation. "Teachers are determined in this round of bargaining to regain these lost services, jobs, and resources to meet students' needs."

Quote:
Although negotiations began in March and the collective agreement expired in June, to date there has been absolutely no progress in bargaining. "Government continues to come empty-handed to the table, persisting with their sub-zero mandate. Government spending decisions are a question of priorities, and we believe children should be the number one priority."

In order to increase pressure on the employer, the BCTF will file strike notice today to take effect at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 6, 2011. Phase 1 of job action means that teachers will not be performing administrative tasks such as filling out forms, collecting data, meeting with principals or other administrators, supervising on playgrounds, or writing report cards.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Scott McLemee: Education Is In The Streets

September 1st, 2011

Source: Inside Higher Ed

By Scott McLemee

When students took to the streets in Rome last November to demonstrate against proposed budget cuts to the university system, they introduced something new to the vocabulary of protest. To defend themselves from police truncheons they carried improvised shields made of polystyrene, painted, on the front, with the names of classic works of literature and philosophy: Moby Dick, The Republic, Don Quixote, A Thousand Plateaus…. The practice caught on. A couple of weeks later, another “Book Bloc” appeared in London as students and public-sector workers demonstrated against rising tuition.

By the time an enormous anti-Berlusconi protest took place in Rome on December 14, a group of Italian faculty members had decided on a syllabus of 20 titles worth carrying into battle. It’s all over the place: The Odyssey and Fahrenheit 451, Spinoza’s Ethics and Donna Haraway’sCyborg Manifesto, Foucault and Fight Club. And so when the forces of law and order descended on the protesters, swinging, it was a visual allegory of culture in the age of austerity — budget-cutting raining blows on the life of the mind, though also, perhaps, the canon as defensive weapon.

The full list of works suggested by the wonderfully named Network of Rebel Faculty appears in Springtime: The New Student Rebellions, a collection of articles and images edited by Clare Solomon and Tania Palmieri; it was published by Verso in England earlier this year, and is appearing in the U.S. just now. Solomon was president of the student union at the University of London during the protests last year; the introduction, dated from January, has the feel of something written with the adrenaline and endorphins still flowing. Some of the pieces at the end of the book narrate and analyze the then-breaking developments in Tunisia, Egypt, and Algeria. In addition to sections on France and Greece, there are documents and analyses from the student protests in California during the 2009-1010 academic year....

eta..the making of a polystyrene shield.

http://www.thenewsignificance.com/?p=3899

ruth67

ikosmos wrote:

This is what I wrote ...

MR Editorial wrote:
This is not meant, however, to ignore the rest of the world, but to constitute a warning of what may be in the offing for much of the global population-since the United States is the fountainhead of neoliberal policy.... education is under fire within much of global capitalist society.... Yet, the global struggle in this area is only just beginning and remains undetermined. The final outcome will depend to a considerable degree on the actions we take now.

The attack on education has been taking place around the globe and under the EU as well for some time now. The issue has been so important for the socialist left in Europe that, despite other very important issues, a group of European Communist Parties have been meeting on this particular issue since 2006. There are a number of excellent documents that are worth looking at, a summary of which would serve as a good piece in Monthly Review. Such an article might productively draw attention to aspects of the reactionary reforms, taking place in the EU, that are not covered in the MR articles on this issue so far.

April 2006 - 1st EDU meeting

http://inter.kke.gr/IntAct/int-meet/edumeeting/

March 2007 - 2nd EDU meeting

http://inter.kke.gr/IntAct/int-meet/2007--2edumeeting

May 2008 - 3rd EDU meeting

http://inter.kke.gr/IntAct/int-meet/3edu2008

February 2010 - 4th EDU meeting

 

Edited to add: In particular, I thought that the following remark from the leader of the Greek CP, Aleka Papariga, was critical:

Quote:
We believe that the conclusions from our meeting will be useful ... on other continents. Without reactionary reforms in the education system, EU and international imperialism cannot aspire to bring the cost of the labour force to the lowest possible level or hope that it will be able to prevent radicalism and the impulse to create a break with the system.

I interpret this to mean that education may very well be the part of the economy and social life that can be a "wedge" to break and smash the neo-liberal project of placing the entire burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of ordinary people and help to move forward to a genuine alternative to the barbaric juggernaut of war, environmental collapse, and hopelessness. I don't think the MR authors have shown enough clarity on this; education becomes THE issue or the lever to defeat the right wing. Few people have elaborated any ideas about how to turn the terrible tide that damages all boats.

Looking more deeply at the substance of the confrontation today, we see that it is over the purpose of education.

Greek CP wrote:
The bourgeois class wants education to prepare people who will adjust to given social forms obediently and passively. We want education that will create people capable of changing the world, and of making it better.

The pro-capitalist view is morally bankrupt and spiritually impoverished. This is maybe one of the strongest arguments, simply put, demonstrating "the necessity and timeliness of socialism". I think the Greek CP has it right.

 

 

I have saved these links you posted to read so little time and so much to do also much useful info possted here that I also pass on to some very good friends who for them the education issue is top priority

I just came a across an interesting document if your interested heres the link

http://www.sacsc.ca/PDF%20files/Research%20and%20Evaluation/Global%20Education%20Lit%20Review-Lyons-06.pdf

“Global education must avoid the traditional confines of curriculum development” (p. 499). 
Apparently, there is no magic bullet when it comes to integrating a global perspective into the 
Global Education , “the structure of schools encourages fragmentation, mystification, simplification, 
and omission of knowledge for efficiency and control ). Not to be in 
control of the learning—being without the clarity of beginning, middle, and end—may create 
questions concerning prescribed outcomes.  

An example of this is the CIDA resource for educators: The Global Classroom Initiative.
 
Canadian youth are encouraged to see themselves as one part of a complex and interconnected 
entity—our world.

A transformative paradigm suggests change and change can only begin with the individual. 
Selby (1991) believes that “an emerging awareness of the world goes hand-in-glove with a 
growing level of self-awareness” 

essential components of global citizenship where the development of self is intricately tied to the 
development of social responsibility: attachment, achievement, autonomy, and altruism. 
   
Through the adaptation of Brendtro and Long’s work (1995), SACSC identifies these four 
Global Education Literature Review–Becoming the Change We Want to See 
The Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities  Revised April, 2006
6
elements as essential in the creation of a safe and caring environment. Global citizenship derives 
from the notion of altruism, or generosity, and is cultivated through concern for others. 

 

ruth67

http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/nscentre/ge/GE-Guidelines/GEgs-app2.pdf

 

"global education may help people realise that globalisation expresses the course of the future social 
development and that it depends on us all whether developments benefit only a privileged part of the globe’s 
population or humanity as a whole. global education (and global learning) is an answer to globalisation 
processes and their chances as well as risks."

 

Caissa

A Kennebecasis Valley school is starting to turn away from traditional, paper-based agendas and textbooks and offering more assignments online and electronic books.

When classes started this year, roughly 700 Hampton High School students were given two-gigabyte USB keys - or portable memory sticks - instead of agendas. Some classes have also switched from textbooks to online assignments.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2011/09/15/nb-hampton-...

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Lots of post secondary courses routinely make reference to online articles and books. The trickle is becoming a flood.

However, the lucrative book industry, in which students are gouged for huge sums of money by being forced to buy the latest edition of the textbook that, once again, summarizes the theory from 500 BC to 1800 AD in the discipline of Zzz Yyy Xxx will continue. They're making too much money to stop. Although, I am happy to report that some profs will allow students to use previous editions of such texts; in one case this is a difference between a $175 text and a $50 used version of the previous edition.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

There are a couple more articles in the next issue of MR available.

http://monthlyreview.org/2011/07/01/khalil-gibran-international-academy

abnormal

ikosmos wrote:

Lots of post secondary courses routinely make reference to online articles and books. The trickle is becoming a flood.

However, the lucrative book industry, in which students are gouged for huge sums of money by being forced to buy the latest edition of the textbook that, once again, summarizes the theory from 500 BC to 1800 AD in the discipline of Zzz Yyy Xxx will continue. They're making too much money to stop. Although, I am happy to report that some profs will allow students to use previous editions of such texts; in one case this is a difference between a $175 text and a $50 used version of the previous edition.

It's not just buying the "latest edition", it's having little or no choice with respect to purchasing North American editions.  In my student days, whenever someone went home to someplace like Egypt, Singapore, China, etc we'd all put in orders for books.  Even with shipping that $100 textbook would cost $2, maybe $3.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

That's great ... except when the course is Poli Sci, and all the radical theory has to be ripped out of the book before your friend goes home. e.g., I had a friend in Malaysia who had to do that ... 20 years ago. Interesting, nevertheless.

Fidel

Noam Chomsky spoke at UofT about the attack on education in the U.S. since the 1970s. The elite in the U.S. are undermining public education in America and doing great harm to the future of America and U.S. economy in general. He says the rest of the Western World is not far behind.

Noam Chomsky wrote:
That's very harmful to the mass of the population, but it doesn't matter to the tiny percent of concentrated wealth and power. In fact, in the years since the Powell Memorandum, we've entered into a new stage in state capitalism in which the future just doesn't amount to much.

Chomsky talks about the Powell Memorandum, and trouncing of the century-old Haldane Principle barring Government intrusion into academic research. This is real Big Brother stuff.

Ralph Nader has emphasized how wrong it is for the military and private contractors to be dealing themselves into university research. And today the Military-Industrial Complex is paying for research at university research centres like Lawrence Livermore Labs in California where they are developing the most deadly chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction ever conceived. It's so wrong.

WTO and the GATS - Why teachers should be concerned (Canadian)

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Bangladesh:
Students Resist State Abandonment
of Public Education

September 2011

The government of Bangladesh introduced a new funding rule (clause 27(4)) that the Jagannath University (JnU) should generate its own funds to run its activities - without being supported by the state. It is worth mentioning that JnU is suppose to be a public institution.
Consequently the university is forced to look for funds elsewhere. Usually there are two potential sources: fees and private investors. Following this step by the state it is feared that semester fees are to be increased by 600% (previously: 3,500 BDT = 34€ = 47US$ - NOW: 20,000 BDT = 195€ = 266US$)....

http://ism-global.net/education_state_abandonment_bangladesh_sept2011

ruth67

this link was fowarded to me via a good friend an hour ago  

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/john_hunter_on_the_world_peace_game.html

an educational universal peace game with brilliant 4th graders and some very interesting perspectives

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Colombian Students Mobilise Against Education Reforms

By William Lloyd George
October 10, 2011

It’s a quiet Monday afternoon in central Bogota. The usual police sirens can be heard in the distance and birds singing in the predominantly green city. Suddenly, the peace is broken. Whistling, explosions and chanting can all be heard in the distance. “Education for the masses,” chant the columns of colourful students as they make their way down to one of Bogota’s main roads....

http://www.indypendent.org/2011/10/10/colombian-student-uprising/

NorthReport

Just don't call her Che

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/opinion/sunday/student-protests-rile-c...

Echoing 1960s street activism, the Chilean Winter dabbled in the absurd, but with a high-tech, social-media twist.Thousands gathered in front of the presidential palace in June dressed as zombies, then broke into a choreographed dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” In July, students again gathered in front of the palace for a huge “kiss-in.”

Though the ideas came, said Giorgio Jackson, former student president of Chile’s Catholic University, from “everywhere, absolutely every local space,” the movement’s success hinged on the leadership’s ability to channel such creativity while maintaining a unified front to government and the media. The organization used a Web site to gather ideas and disseminate content for placards and posters. And it has used Ms. Vallejo’s 300,000-plus Twitter followers to quickly initiate huge “cacerolazos,” a form of dictatorship-era protest where people walk the streets banging on pots and pans.

While they vow to continue until all their lofty demands are met, the students have already scored some political victories. The government’s proposed 2012 budget has a $350 million increase for higher education, with promises to finance scholarships for qualifying students from families up to the 60th percentile in household income. Meanwhile, the year began with the naming of Chile’s third education minister in six months.

It was only a matter of time, perhaps, before the movement’s focus on education began to broaden. As more support for the movement came from outside the universities, its interests changed accordingly. “This year we have already started talking about political reforms and tax reforms, and we think the students and youth in general play an important role in profound reforms in the country,” said Noam Titelman, the new student president at Catholic University.

Tax reform is, not coincidentally, now at the top of the government’s agenda. And rightly so: though it has the largest economy in Latin America, Chile is the 13th most unequal country in the world.

“Something very powerful that has come out of the heart of this movement is that people are really questioning the economic policies of the country,” Ms. Vallejo said. “People are not tolerating the way a small number of economic groups benefit from the system. Having a market economy is really different from having a market society. What we are asking for, via education reform, is that the state take on a different role.”

The movement has also begun to spread regionally. Ms. Vallejo lent her star power to Brazilian student protests in August, while in November students demonstrated in France, Germany and several other countries in support of Confech’s Latin American March for Education.

“The student movement here is permanently connected to other student movements, principally in Latin America, but also in the world,” Ms. Vallejo said. “We believe this reveals something fundamental: that there is a global demand for the recovery and defense of the right to education.”

But the students clearly have a lot to learn about real-world politics. Ms. Vallejo and other student leaders spent weeks lobbying in Parliament, only to be left out of the final budget negotiations.

Frustration with Ms. Vallejo’s strategy propelled a rival leftist, Gabriel Boric, to challenge her in the latest round of student-government elections. On Dec. 7, national TV news crews lingered past 5 a.m. outside the University of Chile to cover a stunning defeat for the world’s most famous student leader.

Yet even in her early-morning concession speech, Ms. Vallejo claimed victory, recognizing that the movement was greater than any one figure. Indeed, her rise has barely broken stride. She just left for a speaking tour in Europe, while her first book, a collection of her speeches and essays from the last year, is rising through the best-seller ranks. And she is being heavily courted by the Communist Party to run at the top of its list for the Chilean Congress in the 2013 elections.

For all its recent stumbles, the movement’s prospects of getting a woman under 26 elected to Congress would help fulfill one of its underlying aims, to kindle young people’s interest in traditional politics. This may be Ms. Vallejo’s greatest contribution: to restore faith in a discredited system by showing a new generation that politics can be responsive to the people’s demands.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Sightly off-topic, but I have often wondered why there isn't a section of Babble devoted to education issues generally (not focused, as here, on post-secondary concerns, vital as they are). I see "education" including K-12 as much more than a "youth issue" it's a societal issue of vital importance.

It's threatened by the current government which has already eliminated the Canadian Council on Learning and the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. Must keep the proles in their place after all.

Has anyone else wondered about this?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

No.

I've stopped wondering why there isn't a separate section of babble devoted to "X" issue because there are so many issues that don't have a separate section in babble. It's obviously babble policy to restrict the number of issue sections as much as possible

Caissa

Canada's Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa has raised the age limit for admission to a controversial sex exhibit after dozens of complaints about the content.

As well, animated video informing children about masturbation has been removed.

The moves follow concerns raised by Heritage Minister James Moore's office and complaints about the exhibit called Sex: A Tell-All Exhibition.

"The museum has received a higher-than-expected amount of expressions of concerns from the public," spokesman Yves St-Onge told Reuters.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/05/17/sex-museum-technology.html

Caissa

Serious action must be taken against staff of a Manitoba school who stood by while students were duped into chewing moose droppings, says a U.S. consultant on bullying.

"This incident is one of the worst I've seen. If everything I've seen in the news is correct. I would be disciplining teachers and thinking about transferring the principal," said Stuart Twemlow.

"If this is not dealt with in schools - and if you want schools to be better places to learn, a better climate for learning - you have to deal with this. It's the elephant in the room and it doesn't go away if you don't talk about it."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/06/07/mb-moose-droppin...

Caissa

A Scottish council has backtracked on its decision to block a school girl from posting photos and ratings of her school cafeteria meals on her blog.

Martha Payne began posting her food critiques to the blog six weeks ago. The nine-year-old student attends school in Lochgilphead, a coastal town about 210 kilometres west of Edinburgh

http://www.cbc.ca/news/offbeat/story/2012/06/15/food-blog-scotland-stude...

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