Mark Nathan: We need grassroots social movements of such force that it will reinvent what is possible in mainstream American politics. The Occupy movements have started such a process.
Mark Naison: Teacher Activists must put forth a vision of Radical Democracy which envisions an education which empowers students as critical thinkers and agents of historical change, not just as obedient test takers and which envisions schools playing a central role in neighborhoods united and mobilized to get a fair share of the nation’s resources.
Mark Naison: It behooves us, as progressive organizers and justice fighters, to keep the lines of communication open to people in these organizations, and be there to work with them if they join us in resistance to policies that concentrate economic sacrifice amongst America’s poor.
Mark Naison: If the only schools that can function well are in communities where parents have the resources to compensate for the budget cuts, then we are basically creating a social order where children will remain in the social position of their parents into the next generation, and where poor and working-class children are doomed by inferior training to be a servant class for the rich, if they are lucky enough to find jobs at all.
Mark Naison: In a country with one of the highest rates of poverty in the industrialized world, with almost no social safety net to help struggling families, our teachers have to create a positive learning atmosphere in classrooms filled with young people under stress.