See original text at http://www.gp.org/social_justice_2016#sjArts
The Green Party supports equal access to high-quality education, and sharp increases in financial aid for college students.
A great challenge facing the people of the United States is to educate ourselves to build a just, sustainable, humane and democratic future, and to become responsible and effective citizens of the local and global communities we share. Greens believe every child deserves a public education that fosters critical and holistic thought, and provides the breadth and depth of learning necessary to become an active citizen and a constructive member of our society. We do not believe our public school system, as it presently operates, helps us reach that goal.
Today, America’s public school system faces a different set of challenges. For the first time in this country’s history, students of color represent the majority of the PK-12 public education student body. Additionally, now more than half of all school children are classified as “low income.” Even more critical is the fact that now nearly 35 percent of all public school students have some specific learning disability and are receiving special education services. Given these factors, in order for America’s schools to truly become effective in teaching our students to think critically and to respond to life challenges, districts, schools and teachers must develop a new consciousness toward students that includes cultural competency, the understanding of the impact of poverty on school performance, asset-based engagement and how to create stable, nurturing school environments that will help students thrive and succeed.
Therefore, Greens work toward:
- Dismantling white supremacy in our schools, represented in curricula, discipline, teacher recruitment and more, by seeking to end the school-to-jailhouse track
- Free teachers from requirements to use exclusively Common Core Standards-aligned materials, which neglects the contributions and struggles of people of color. Teachers should be free to choose whichever materials are academically-challenging and culturally appropriate for their students.
- Strengthen cultural competency requirements for teachers. Provide robust professional development in cultural competency, and widen the scope of teacher preparation to include cultural competency training.
- End alternative teacher licensing initiatives, such as Teach for America, which recruit primarily white teachers and inject them into urban classrooms with as little as five weeks’ training and only a two-year commitment, creating great destabilization in school communities that need consistent leadership and community connections.
- Incentivize “grow your own teacher” programs in oppressed communities with targeted recruitment during high school, federal grants and loan forgiveness and mentoring.
- Invest more resources into recruiting fully bilingual school support staff, such as front-office and family resource personnel and counselors.
- Eliminate police officers from our schools. Ensure school security personnel are trained for, and held accountable to, conflict resolution techniques and anti-bias training. Security personnel should also demonstrate cultural competency and refrain from enforcing white supremacist oppressive tactics.
- Recognize the impact of poverty on student achievement, which no amount of sanctions, standards, turnarounds, teacher targeting or privatization will fix. Implement strategies such as wraparound services and more to support students in poverty.
- Eradicate the vestiges of structural racism represented through police violence, incarceration, school suspension and dropout rates, inequitable school funding and use of schemes like “student-based budgeting,” behavior policies based on “no excuses,” “character education” and “grit,” and school closures.
The Green Party is strongly opposed to the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education. We believe that the best educational experience is guaranteed by the democratic empowerment of organized students, their parents and communities along with organized teachers. ****INSERT*** We should challenge students with great works of literature, economics, philosophy, history, music, and the arts as regular academic subjects. ***END INSERTION****
We must stop disinvestment in education and instead put it at the top of our social and economic agenda. Effective schools have sufficient resources. Too many of our teachers are overworked, underpaid, and starved of key materials.We also must be more generous to our schools so that our children will learn what generosity is, and know enough to be able to be generous to us in return.
Greens believe in education, not indoctrination.We do not think that schools should turn our children into servile students, employees, consumers or citizens. We believe it is very important to teach our children how to ask good questions.
Unfortunately, we often expect too little from our students,teachers and schools.We must teach our children and teenagers to be leaders, and challenge them with great works of literature, economics, philosophy, history, music and the arts. ******NOTE: First sentence is based in deficit thinking, so proposal calls for deletion. Second sentence moved two paragraphs up.
We also call attention to the results of a quarter century of corporate funding from the likes of the Bradley and Wal-Mart Family Foundations(insert)and a decade of No Child Left Behind and its repackaged new offspring, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)(end insertion)—a vast, well-endowed and lucrative sector which seeks to dismantle, privatize, or militarize public education and destroy teachers unions.Regimes of high-stakes standardized testing and the wholesale diversion of resources away from public schools are provoking crises for which the bipartisan corporate consensus recommends school closings, dissolution of entire school districts and replacement by unaccountable, profit-based charter schools. The Green Party is unalterably opposed to the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education.
Therefore, the Green Party advocates:
- That with the failure of NCLB’s testing mandate, recognize and uphold parents’ right to opt their children out of any standardized test, instead of ESSA’s weak permission of allowing states to pass such statutes. End the official bullying and threats from school and district officials when parents opt out.
- End all standardized testing and instead redirect the millions of funds allocated toward prep, materials, support, etc. to creating expanded access to music, arts, sciences and languages as mandatory, academic subjects.
- End all federal competitive grants like Race to the Top (RTTT) and instead equitably fund schools based on a priority of socioeconomic level.
- ESSA’s passing the buck of “test and punish” to the states puts more authority in the hands of people with even less understanding of pedagogy and child development than even the US Department of Education. Students of color, English learners and students with disabilities used to be able to count on federal oversight of their basic rights in school.
- End ESSA’s promotion of charter-friendly, unproven alternative teaching licensing and “credential mills” like Relay Graduate School of Education and others, that circumvent public oversight.
The Green Party views learning as a lifelong and life-affirming process to which all people should have access. We cannot state more forcefully our belief that in learning, and openness to learning, we find the foundation of our Platform
We recommend the following actions:
- Eliminate gross inequalities in school funding. Federal policy on education should act principally to provide equal access to a quality education.
- Provide free college tuition to all qualified students at public universities and vocational schools. It’s time to forgive all student and parent loans taken out to finance post-secondary and vocational education. Abolish all student and parent loans taken out to finance post-secondary and vocational education.
- Oppose the administration of public schools by private, for-profit entities.
- Increase funding for after-school and daycare programs.
- Promote a diverse set of educational opportunities, including bi-lingualmultilingualeducation, continuing education, job retraining, distance learning, mentoring and apprenticeship/vocationalprograms. Provide resources for career counseling. programs.
- ****INSERT*** Build education programs based on autochthonous skills, crafts, art, music, permaculture, and history. Also present children of colonial heritage viable and sustainable ways of life of indigenous peoples worldwide.
- ****INSERT****For students with disabilities, provide a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment (as inclusive as possible). Provide curriculum designed for specific disabilities, as well as inclusive training for ALL teachers. Improve transition programs for students with disabilities from ages 18-21.
- Give K-12 classroom teachers professional status and salaries commensurate with advanced education, training and responsibility.
- Teach non-violent conflict resolution and humane education at all levels of education. Implement and fully-fund restorative justice programs as an alternative to suspension and police referral.
- *****INSERT****Provide age-appropriate education on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and safer sex.
- Prohibit advertising to children in schools. Corporations should not be allowed to use the schools as vehicles for commercial advertising or corporate propaganda.
- Provide healthy school meals that are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and offer plant-based vegetarian options. Support Farm-to-School programs that provide food from local family farms and educational opportunities. Develop culturally-sensitive menus and provide opportunities for parents to assist in meal preparation.
- Ban the sale of soda pop and junk food in schools. Junk food is defined as food or beverages that are relatively high in saturated or trans fat, added sugars or salt, and relatively low in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.
- Oppose military and corporate control over the priorities and topics of university academic research.
- Expand opportunities for universal higher education and life-long learning.
- Make student loans available to all college students, with forgiveness for graduates who choose public service occupations.
- Repeal the No Child Left Behind Act.
- Include a vigorous and engrossing civics curriculum in later elementary and secondary schools, to teach students to be active citizens.
- Encourage parental responsibility by supporting parenting (insert) in culturally-sensitive ways (end insertion), and increasing opportunities for parents to be as involved as possible in their children’s education. Values start with parents(insert), and schools should not seek to de-program students from those values (end insertion).Teaching human sexuality is a parental and school responsibility.
- Expand arts education and physical education opportunities at school.
- Recognize the viable alternative of home-based education (insert) and support working-class parents who wish to offer it to their children (end insertion).
- Oppose efforts to restrict the teaching of scientific information and the portrayal of religious belief as fact.
- Provide adequate academic and vocational education and training to prisoners.
- ***INSERT***Decrease the student-teacher ratio in classrooms and increase the number of counselors, nurses, librarians and social workers.
- ****INSERT****Make all public education sites gun-free to provide a safe learning environment
- ****INSERT****Include self-defense skills in the physical education curriculum at elementary school level
- ****INSERT****Provide researched-based drug, tobacco, and alcohol abuse prevention, as well as evidence-based information about the true effect of recreational or medicinal substances such as cannabis on the developing brain.
- ****INSERT****Include curricula focusing on civil rights history, actions, and advances, and how current law can be used to achieve personal civil rights. Teach all students about white supremacy and intersectionality.
- We urge that our nation amend its “binding declaration” with respect to the “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict” to join the rest of the world in setting 18 as the absolute minimum age for military recruitment.
- No person should be permitted to sign away eight years of their life to the armed forces, without full written disclosure of what is expected of them and what they can expect in return from the government. We demand that the practice of deceiving prospective service recruits about the truth of their service contract be recognized as a fraudulent practice and sufficient grounds for revoking an enlistment contract. Current practices holding individuals legally to all the terms of their military service contract should also apply to the government.
- We demand an end to the militarization of our schools. JROTC programs are an expensive drain on our limited educational resources and a diversion from their important mission to prepare our young to assume their role in a peaceful tomorrow. ASVAB testing is being used to mine public school student bodies for data to support military recruiting. Forbid military access to student records. The Pentagon’s Recruitment Command is misdirecting public tax dollars on manipulative campaigns that prey on our young. We insist that local education authorities stand up to these destructive practices.