Location: Vanguard High School
317 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10065
Date: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago’s Teachers Union
accompanied by DJ ULTRAMAN, Benji Chang, Post-Doctoral Fellow with IUME Teachers College
A school should be the center of a community — a place that feeds the minds and hearts of its young people, a place that celebrates the neighborhood’s cultural and linguistic heritage, a place that provides the tools for a community to deepen its self-understanding and broaden its understanding of its connections to the broader world.
Across the country, however, the ability of educational institutions to serve these purposes is being severely damaged. Schools are increasingly seen as opportunities for the wealthy and powerful to make a profit, or to further their own political agendas. While these agendas affect different groups in a variety of ways, in such seemingly disconnected policies as school closings, teacher bashing, and the banning of ethnic studies programs, a common thread emerges: disregard for the histories, needs and people served by local public schools.
But in response to these dehumanizing, profit-driven policies, communities are fighting back. People are coming together, supporting, valuing and caring for one another as individuals with unique histories and experiences, rather than as statistics. Communities are reaching out, forming new connections, building bridges, strengthening ties. From the Chicago teachers and the parents who supported them in their recent strike, to the work that teachers do in their classrooms, we are working to listen to one another, and to hear each other’s voices over the din of the empty rhetoric of politicians, and to bring our voices together in a call for justice.
NYCoRE’s 4th annual conference seeks to be a space to further this work: a space to hear one another’s voices, to strengthen our connections to one another, to form new connections. We seek to provide an opportunity to work towards becoming El Pueblo Unido — A People United in the struggle for justice, even as we acknowledge the differences among us, and the differential access to power and privilege that have shaped our individual and collective histories. To this end, we are seeking workshops that will be of relevance to educators in varied settings that are diverse in their focus topics. Relevant political critiques are welcomed, as are curricular ideas, classroom strategies, presentations on community work, and other ideas for inspiring practice. We are also specifically seeking workshops that contribute to bridging the gap that often exists between educators and young people by bringing the voices of youth into workshop sessions. All proposals should demonstrate relevance to the conference theme, described in detail below.