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The Knotted Line

Evan Bissell, Author

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2009: The Ivory Spaceship

2009: The University of California regents approve a 32% tuition increase over the following two years, completing a 300% increase since 2001. [User created media]

California spends $8,736 per student and $47,102 per adult inmate. California has the most youth of any state and the second-largest prison system.  

Actions for Self-Determination:
  • 1964: In the largest mass arrest in history, police arrest 800 protesters at UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza. The sit-in was part of three months of student rebellion against the university's decision to limit the activities of civil rights and political groups on the campus. 
  • 1992: Detroit Summer begins as a multiracial, intergenerational collective that, among other activities, begins the Live Arts Media Project (LAMP), a youth-led response to Detroit’s drop-out crisis that uses music, poetry and visual art to investigate community problems and generate community-based solutions.
  • 1997: Center for Young Women's Development shifts from an organization led by service providers to an organization led by its members, women of color under the age of 26. The group provides support and counseling for women in the juvenile justice system or the street economy.
  • 1999: H.O.M.E.Y. (Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth) is founded to provide training, jobs, tutoring and political education. The group is central in the fight against gang injunctions targeting Mission District and Fillmore youth in San Francisco.
  • 2000: Eastside Arts Alliance in East Oakland begins offering community programs, affordable housing and office space to support a creative environment that improves the quality of life and advocates for progressive, systemic social change as an educational, celebratory and community gathering space. Each year, Eastside also hosts the free outdoor Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival
  • 2004: Pachamama (Bushwick Childcare Cooperative) is created after inspiration from the unemployed workers' movement in Argentina. The collective later reforms and expands as Regeneracion, and begins to collaboratively build  a national network of similar "intergenerational movements for collective liberation."
  • 2010: University of Puerto Rico students strike for two months in response to severe budget cuts. Despite police retaliation, students negotiate a cancellation of fees, extension of tuition wavers and a move away from privatization.
Discussion Questions:
  • Should personal and social awareness be central to education? Why or why not? How does a socially aware education contribute to safer communities?
  • In what ways has college loan debt confined you or your family?
  • Why is oppression usually seen within a social justice framework and not as a historical concept? Would it benefit or harm society to prioritize understanding oppression in education?
  • How are youth represented in the media today (read introduction for background information on media portrayal)? How does this relate to or contrast with your view of youth today? How does this impact policy and funding priorities?
  • Is money the problem with the public school system? Propose changes that aren't related to spending.
  • Analyze the chart on inmate spending in California. What are some inferences you would make from this data about the state of incarceration?
  • Compare and contrast Mario Savio's speech and that of Rick Santorum. What are their core values regarding education and the marketplace?
  • Should the government offer higher education free or at low cost for all who want to attend? Why or why not?
  • Why or why not did/do you want to attend college? What things made/make you think that you will or won't go?
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