For those who don’t know me, I am a trained teacher and an indigenous mother. I have very strong beliefs about the importance of education. You can read some of those opinions here: http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/calling-all-our-superheroes
So I am not anti-education, by any stretch, and I even feel it is necessary for our children, native and non, to succeed in this crappy colonial, racist system because unless we jump through those hoops (and yes often even if we jump successfully) our children face marginalisation.
Nonetheless, I have little to no faith in the structures we are given as ‘options’. What I mean is, most schools are shit, the teachers are often shit, the admin are often shit, and the educational policies are definitely shit. School systems are still mired in 19th century mentality, and more importantly, schools are NOT safe places for the majority of children. Not even for most White children. “Safe and successful” schools are experienced by a tiny minority of extremely privileged children.
You’d think that with things so bad for most people, that there’d be a continent-wide movement to change this, but inertia is powerful. Particularly when economies are centered around the absolute need for parents to work full time just to survive, making it imperative that children be in the hands of daycare workers and teachers for the bulk of the day. Which, btw WOULD BE FINE IF THE SYSTEM DIDN’T ACTIVELY PERPETUATE VIOLENCE.
But I’ll tell you this. People have successfully brought education back to the community level before, and it can happen again. Freedom Schools. indigenous Survival Schools. Language Nests, etc.
Our communities, native and non, need to figure this out again. And we need to make it happen, by supporting our kids, and structures which elevate rather than pacify them. Yup, we need to keep those full time jobs, because that shit is life and death, no lie. But we also need to figure out how to support new models of education NOW. Cuz trust me, by the time the state figures this shit out, it’ll already be too late for our kids, and probably even our grand kids.
If I can teach Chemistry to 9 year olds in a third of the time it usually takes to run through a highschool course (and I’m not talking little Einsteins here, just regular kids)…then we can teach ALL our kids everything they need to succeed in this stupid standardised testing system AND what they need to learn to decolonise and recreate or create sustainable, human structures into the future.
Do you believe that? I absolutely do. Now I’ve got to figure out how to do it without letting my kids starve in the meantime.
And I WILL figure that shit out.