What Is Education For? posted by dara on the Just Seeds blog

[The  ferment in educational activism is directed in part at forcing the government to accept the responsibility for education, a public service.   As we do this, we first come up against the fact that the government provides unequally;  we also find that while better funded schools have more success in the testing regimen that pervades the educational industry, many of the better funded schools rely less on the regimen to achieve their successes.  Meanwhile, however, questions begin to be raised about the usefulness of the regimen itself in preparing our children — and our adults — for the activity they follow in their lives.  As I sit here typing this, in a friend’s Vancouver kitchen, I see a motto on the bookshelf in front of me:  “Never confuse having a career with having a life.” 

Until now this might have been thought to be an irrelevant or a utopian idea.  But if you substitute “good job” for the word “career,” and consider that the “good jobs” are disappearing faster than you can spend the economic stimulus money in a depression; then what kind of education the government will provide becomes as important as fighting for the government to do what it is supposed to.  Dara, on the Just Seeds blog, explores this from an arts perspective.  She also lists a large number of ongoing alternative attempts to provide education.  It is an important list, I think;  but I urge readers to look back in the literature at the history of education in our country, which is filled with efforts to accomplish goals the government refused to pick up.  There is an extensive history to which we MUST lay claim;  it is our birthright and our responsibility – Lew Rosenbaum]

School as Art

Posted February 25, 2010 by dara_g in Art & Politics

Since participating in a session called Pedagogies of the Periphery (organized by Rebecca Zorach) a few weeks ago at threewalls Gallery in Chicago I have been thinking through a lot of questions I have about the current trend of the school form as artist project as well as the call for the March 4th student strike. Once I compiled this long but incomplete list, I got kind of excited about all of the mostly grassroots energy it represents towards rethinking what it means to learn. At the same time I wonder who these art projects serve and if they have oppositional possibilities or are just another venue for people with privilege to socialize with each other and engage in “knowledge production”? Some other questions I have are:
What does this type of art practice say about the current conditions of both official education and/or art?
Although each project is different, does this trend indicate a growing critique of official education?
If so, what are the critiques (pedagogical, corporate, curricular, all/none/etc)?
In what ways are these projects different than official education? Is it the spaces they happen in? Different administrators? Content of courses? Cost? Openness?
What are the politics of the discourse of “openness”?
What constitutes participation in these projects?
What, if any, is the relationship between the impetus for these school art practices and the issues inspiring the student strikes?

There are many other questions to ask and discussions to have related to problems of education today….for now here is a list of school art projects, as well as other types of places where classes are offered to the public, and a list of free schools for young people…

For the list of school art projects, follow this link  http://justseeds.org/blog/2010/02/school_as_art_1.html

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