Public Education | Participatory Democracy: After Neoliberalism

An Invitation

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Public Education|Participatory Democracy is an invitation to imagine education differently. Through it I share with you, as viewers|readers, the counterstories and activism of communities as they struggle to claim their education at a time when receiving it is threatened. I offer up the challenge to envision education that values and works for all of us, not simply those privileged. To accept such a challenge requires understanding what has happened through educational policy and law to people (students, teachers, school personnel, parents), their neighborhoods, and communities. We need a collective understanding, beyond the needs of one's individual family to explore and make real a educational visionsuitable for a democracy. The project puts aside more common questions about asymmetrical power relations:

Who are the winners and the losers? Who makes the rules? What do the winners tell the loser so they keep playing?

While important questions, they questions focus attention on the winners, rule makers, and hide the impact of structures they built. I ask a different question:

How do those who lose show the consequences of the game and work to make another reality?

While the previous questions illuminate what people fight against, with this project, I explore what people struggle for and how they do it. This is a project of counter-narratives that resist the constraints of feminization. Most films about education turn to people who can present a convincing narrative--mostly male, white, authoritative--to theorize about what to do, who to do it to, and why. This is a project about people in the struggle, I listen to them as they speak and theorize without need of authorities doing either for them. I am a participant of the struggle, working to create a project that does not further marginalized and can be useful as we cocreate a just world. My hope is that my research as filmmaking will make present the collective work necessary for community organizing, societal change, and social justice. Film has the capacity to encourage critical thinking through the senses.

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