I met Dr. Vincent Harding during my first week with IDEA. I was facilitating a gathering in Detroit that he ignited with his opening remembering of a favorite poem, “We are citizens of country that does not yet exist,” and his adaption for that gathering on education: “We are citizens of an education system that does not yet exist.”
In the middle of the four hour assembly, he changed the conversation by posing the question, “What are the attributes, the qualities, we want for the young people we love to possess?”
And later by leading us in song.
Then, at the end, he called us to be courageous, honest, and generous to one another.
After the assembly, for a just a few moments we spoke. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “we must be like love and iron fused together.”
I’ve yet to meet that challenge, though it has and continues to live as a mantra inside me. I imagine he’s left this and thousands of other mantras in the hearts and minds of those he touched.
Today, as thousands mourn his passing, I wanted to write simply to acknowledge what he set off in my own life and soul.
Dr. Harding, you were and will remain a center of gravity.Thank you for your words, your presence, your song, your courage, your dignity, your humility, and your generosity. May more in the world come to know what you knew and see what you saw. I ask that of myself as in these days of mourning and letting you go. Prayers, love, and strength to your family and all who knew you far better than I.
With much gratitude,
Vincent Harding, 82, Civil Rights Author and Associate of Dr. King, Dies from New York Times
Nestled at the center of Comunidad Forastieri (the Forastieri Community), one block away from Nuestra Escuela in Caguas, Puerto Rico, is Parque Forastieri (Forastieri Park). The community sees the park as a place to socialize, which adds to it’s value as an awesome destination for the kiddos to enjoy a fun, clean playground. It’s full of color, open to the public, and also has a pretty cool basketball court that gets it’s fair share of use. But this is all new, and only a reality due to the work of some amazing humans.
Not too long ago, Parque Forastieri was essentially abandoned, and considered a scary place to be by most people. The only folks you might find hanging around, and only on occasion, were people without homes. Needless to say, the park has always been a potentially great center for social life in the community. Historically, however, it has been widely known as a place to avoid. It seems no surprise that the surrounding community has been rather disjointed in the past as well, and has lacked an overall sense of identity.
Thankfully, together with the community and some heartfelt volunteers, Brayan Sanchez has been organizing for months on end to help restore a healthy and thriving feel to both the park and surrounding community. Comunidad and Parque Forastieri now buzz more than ever with life, joy, quality, and a real sense of identity.
In partnership with Integrity in Education, we're launching #WeAuthorize Wednesdays today, May 7th!
We invite everyone, each week, at any time of day or night, to begin to link together and lift up a larger and just vision for education and policy.Get all the details on the IDEA Blog and help us kickstart the #WeAuthorize conversation on Twitter.
Learning Call celebrating Freedom Summer
Join in to learn about the Freedom Summer Youth Congress from two IDEA organizers on the planning committee for this awesome youth focused event.
Get Ready to Bid!
Ever wanted to learn how to play a guitar? Looking for a new piece of art for your wall? Have an educational dilemma you're needing help with?
IDEA's first-ever Skillshare Auction starts next week and might have just the thing you need. It's a fun way to share the skills, talents, and knowledge of the IDEA community while also raising money for the work we do.
IDEA Learning Report April 2013 - January 2014
As a Reggio Emilia teacher makes visible the learning and conversations she sees unfolding in an early childhood classroom, this Learning Report is an invitation into the documentation, stories, and learning coming from the experiences of the IDEA Community over the past several months. Download IDEA's Learning Report.
In partnership with Integrity in Education, we’re launching #WeAuthorize Wednesdays today, May 7th!
It’s time to define a new course of action for American education policy in the 21st Century – one that helps to make visible the tremendous positive educational innovation developing at America's grassroots, and that is informed by the wisdom, creativity and foresight of young people, educators and the communities they serve.
This weekly twitter holiday is one way to get started.
Let’s begin to accomplish what our elected officials cannot do alone – re-authorize a federal education policy that is six years overdue, and re-imagine American public education in ways that make it more equitable, engaging, and relevant for all communities.
We invite everyone, each week, at any time of day or night, to begin to link together and lift up a larger and just vision for education and policy.
Bonus challenge: Shoot a video of yourself or hold a mock congressional hearing with the testimony you think needs to be heard. Then tweet it. Shout to Tupac for showing us how it’s done.
If you have additional questions or comments please email or even comment at the bottom of this blog.
From September 18-22, participants of IDEA's first-ever Learning Breakthrough Series will come together once again for Learning Session B in the beautiful, profound Isla del Encanto - Puerto Rico!
The second of our gatherings, Learning Session B, brings teams back together to share and explore the reality of what's happened in their home contexts post Learning Session A, to look for the intersections and learning from what is causing desired changes, to dig further into what is distinct and common across each team’s work in education across these four drivers of change, and to ground their work in the culture, history, and reality of the Puerto Rican nation.
IDEA’s organizing teams will be joined once again by the emerging New England Youth Organizing Network and the NY Education Justice Team (Urban Youth Collaborative / Center for Educational Justice). If you want to tune-in and follow along, there are great video-overviews of each team's activity during the Series' first Action Period, and we'll be blogging more as the Series move forward!
One of IDEA's favorite gentlemen, Sam Chaltain, has a freshly published brand new book titled Our School: Searching for Community in the Era of Choice. It's already got some great reviews, and for all the right reasons!
Our School is the first book I've read to share the honest human story of our current educational landscape. Sam weaves the lives of children and teachers together, along with the larger questions we all face about the future of learning in the U.S. As a result, Our School provides the emotional inflection points that are often missing from our growing national debates.
- IDEA Executive Director, Scott Nine
Almost every major American city is experimenting with school choice--a deeply controversial idea that is dramatically reshaping public education. Will the wider array of school options help parents and educators identify better strategies for helping all children learn? Or will the high stakes of the marketplace end up privatizing this most public of institutions? Education activist Sam Chaltain believes that before we can answer these questions, we must put a human face on the modern landscape of teaching and learning. Our School documents a year in the life of two schools in the nation's capital--one a new charter school just opening its doors, the other a neighborhood school that first opened in 1924. Chaltain weaves together the observations and emotions of the people whose lives intersect there, and the triumphs and the challenges they experience. The result is an unsettling, complex portrayal of American public education. Our School is important reading for educational policymakers, administrators, parents, the media, and anyone who aspires to be a teacher.
* Specific recommendations for creating a healthy, high-functioning school.
* A detailed account of what school choice actually looks and feels like to the people who experience it.
* A vivid description of the modern classroom and what it's...