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Gather round ya’ll, It’s time for class!

This one is called "Stop Repeating History: Finding Solutions for Fall 2020 #Pandemic Schooling that are Rooted in Partnership and Humanity" (Note: It is not sexy).

To know how to move forward, first, we have to look back.
Here, we look back to the inception of public education in the United States, and how it has always been situated in capitalistic enterprise for better, and mostly, for worse.

This is a hefty thread. I use it to build context. So often, we separate ourselves from the past.
We are in grave danger of repeating it. As you find your position, I hope this synthesis will support your stance, particularly one that is #pro-kid and one that will undo anti-capitalism in schooling.

Through this brief surfacing of American History, I hope families and…
…schools and other community members will understand more thoroughly their role in finding solutions that are rooted in partnership and humanity; rather than what is and has been most individually advantageous and convenient for parts of the community that are in closest…
…proximity to one another, or parts of the community that have greater amounts of shared culture. (This should probably be a blog or an article, but like many of you, I’m operating from a place of exhaustion I’ve never quite met before, so a Twitter thread it is!)

Well over…
…a century ago, Horace Mann and Henry Barnard watched the American economy grow, and as it grew, they also watched the arm of capitalism place its factory workers and poor families in one part of town, and factory owners and other business entrepreneurs on the other end.
This placement was vertical, hierarchical in structure.
Mann and Barnard deeply understood how the Antebellum South's plantation structure and the Industrial Revolution would stratify folx, but their focus was primarily on people who were labeled as U.S. citizens (re: white people).
*Check out Bowles & Gintis’s Schooling in Capitalist America for even more context!…
They failed to acknowledge enslaved Black people altogether, and left the Government to create an agenda to (re:Native American Boarding Schools) that would later facilitate cultural genocide amongst Indigenous Tribal Nations all across the land.
*Learn more about that cultural genocide here:…

Mann & Barnard predicted the ubiquitous birth of “small aristocratic societies" and grew weary of how the monotonous nature of factory work would stifle the working class’s mental well-being. So, along with…
…a bunch of others, they named the need for a progressive education movement, wherein everyone would learn through active participation and experiences, rooted in democratic ideology; moving away from “traditional methods” (rote memorization, lots of Greek and Latin).
Have you ever heard the quote, “Education will be the great equalizer”? That was Horace Mann.
Here is the whole quote (in retrospect, hysterical): “Education, then beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men--the balance wheel of the social machinery.” HAH!
A few years later, as immigrants (at the time, mostly from Ireland) came to feed the hungry belly of the American economy, schooling was already used as a measure of social control to tame the “uncouth and dangerous” “foreign elements”.
About fifty years after that, Native American Boarding Schools facilitated cultural genocide, and to be Black and literate was still a crime.

*primary source materials tell this story most accurately:…
So, Indigenous families all over the country, Black families all over the country are pushed into survivance.
Survivance: a term Indigenous scholars use to describe not just simply surviving, but finding ways to grow and thrive despite colonization, oppression, and marginalization (Vizenor, 2008) (via Ishimaru, 2020).
*Ann Ishimaru does a fantastic job explaining survivance phenomena here:…

All the while, many poor, immigrant families entrust their kids to public school.
Families with more money, many who’ve been in the country for a long time, pay governesses and personal tutors to enrich their children. Many do not go to public school.

[Time bakes further stratification and social control into what we call the American Public School system.
Learning subsists. Jim Crow/Segregation/”Integration”/NCLB/ESSA all take place, fast forward to 2020 #pandemiclearning]

Everyone who participates in the U.S. (and globally) is at risk for contracting #COVID19 . Tons and tons of plans are being created to support children.
And just like this country did almost 250 years ago in those “aristocratic microsocieties” , we stratify who gets what using the same damn blueprint.

The supposed nature of democratic schooling is codified capitalism:
Learning pods in 2020 are akin to a group of children being taught by a Governess in 1831. Yes, the pod is created for the sake of safety and emotional well-being of kids and teachers, but also, at the cost of throwing the most marginalized and oppressed families to the side.
Which is what U.S. Public Schooling almost always does.

How does this work?
Families who know each other call each other up, find someone old enough and/or qualified to look after kids during the day, and pay them to spend time with their kids to facilitate some kind of learning. In NYC, there are schools that have multi-million dollar PTA's.
*learn more about disparities in PTA funds:…

(In no way am I personally absolved from this; all who benefit are a part of perpetuating the system).

This is often done in complete absence of a conversation with their child’s school.
Betsy Devos would absolutely applaud this work; it is steeped in neoliberalism i.e. the privatization of goods, in this case, the "goods" being education.

People with money look to solve problems with their wallets, and prioritize convenience over community all the time.
They ask: "What is best for my child?" as opposed to "What is best for OUR children?"

Families with less resources, led by grown ups who are essential workers, are at grocery stores filling your Instacart, delivering your UPS package of scented handcream, counting on a system…
…to take care of their child’s emotional needs, and more often than not, their community is one of the few routes to any kind of convenience in their lives.
A big difference between then and now is that the BIPOC families of 250 years ago in the U.S. would have probably never entrusted their children within a Government sactioned public system of any kind.
I’ve worked in public schooling in lots of different ways for all of my adult life. I’ve seen enough to know that almost everything Horace Mann and the progressives who have attempted to catalyze a system that enriches children from all walks of life has been entrenched in…
…individualism and hierarchies where people tend to look after themselves instead of one another. I’ve seen enough to understand that the folx to learn the most from are families of survivance.
Indigenous families have been creating learning pods as long as they’ve existed here on earth.
( @cinnamonkillsfirst recommends #landbasedlearning ) Noone is paying to be part of a learning pod there.
Black families have been teaching each other to read long before they were allowed into public schools.
I’ve also worked with enough school leadership to understand that they desperately want to include their entire community, seek to right wrongs of the past, but (especially here in NYC), are continually excluded from well-resourced family decision making.
And, understandably so, are not exactly trusted by BIPOC families.

I've been a parent long enough to understand the desperation of relief that money could buy.
Also, I know that my well-resourced self is privileged, and that I will always be able to figure shit out with my partner.

But here, on my humble twitter soapbox, I offer a few solution-oriented steps to undo a repeat of the past.
My new friend @codymiller reminds me that the revolution is in the margins. A form of anti-racism, moving beyond the cardboard sign in the march, is the redistribution of wealth.
@CodyMiller If you are a parent who is well-resourced organizing a learning pod, invite all families into this conversation. Also, include the school into your conversation.
@CodyMiller Seek advice and LISTEN to BIPOC families: many of them are already situated in collectivism, we white people have so much to learn from them.

Consider a cooperative model where no money is involved.
@CodyMiller This means sharing home learning space, sharing organizing labor, sharing time in front of other people's kids.
@CodyMiller Understand factors that have potential to exclude kids from taking part in in-person learning: where their home is located, type of job their grown ups have, peer relationships, cultural identity markers.

I do have school aged children that go to public school.
@CodyMiller @misterminor & I will be opening our ideating doors to families and teachers and kids in their school, as well as others in the @NYCDOE.
@CodyMiller @MisterMinor @NYCDOE To families everywhere: dismantle the exclusive pod, and work together with your ENTIRE community to create a situate that is safe for everyone.

Money should not be an essential factor in this conversation.
@threader_app can you compile please? thanx!
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