students want police out of schools

The Real News is running a multi-part series , Students and Teachers Defend Public Education.  From the series, is this video described this way:  Activists want charges dropped and 5,000 police removed from New York public schools. 

I have blogged before about how compulsory attendance, once a way to get agricultural families into the "school habit" has been mindlessly extended and now we have compulsory attendance for 12+ long years at school. This structural way of disempowering families instead of working with them is at the root of most of our education struggles today. Instead of developing ways of relating to the users, schools have developed a thick administrative layer that is unresponsive to what the people using the schools need and want. Compulsory attendance has tied funding to the child and reinforced school districts as semi-private quasi-fiefdoms where theft of education crimes can be prosecuted. And now corporate charters, claiming that no one can understand how to fix schools, it is all too complex, want to turn public schools over to private corporateers who still use the same compulsory, grades-and-tests factory model that created this mess.

It is not choice. We could have every single family in every single school making real choices every day. But not in a compulsory system that excludes families and the students themselves from choices and control, a system that has grown reliant on police and enforcement instead of engagement and service. This creates a way of looking to curriculum providers and remote experts for programs instead of developing them locally and building networks of support. Police have no place in a social service that should serve families and children. The school to prison pipeline would not exist if police power were not at the base of public schooling in the US.

This is an issue that homeschoolers have had to face from the start when social services were called on families who broke compulsory attendance laws. Homeschoolers have mounted a challenge to that by working for exemptions for families. Now communities and schools are being challenged and I hope they, too, will not underestimate what focused activism for children and families can achieve. Democracy is not a distant ideal: it is a real way of living and working. We could choose to have our schools function differently.

New York Students Allege Police Harassment for Fighting School Closure:

More at The Real News

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