grassroots democracy

Geohumus effect tested on growth of grass roots. Public domain image by Achim Hering
(Image is metaphorical only and no endorsement is intended. Info on geohumus is here.)

The wisdom of providing values instead of policies allows citizens like me to try and use the Green Party tools and I do here.  I focus on the first of these values as it relates to open moving toward source learning centers, formerly known as schools.

1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives; no one should be subject to the will of another. Therefore we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations that expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
  • Children and young people are part of the grassroots, too.
  • Participatory democracy means families choosing educational services rather than be coerced to join a planned social engineering scheme. 
  • Mass coerced schooling has a short history in its current form: we can improve on the Prussian model. It is undemocratic, outdated, and unnecessary.
  • Grass grows from the roots up.  Jobs should, too.
  • Real, democratic participation by families and students is the best way to strengthen citizen skills and ability to live in a democratic society.
  • Democracy means choice at every single school: choice of classes and activities and the support needed to understand choices children and families can pursue.
  • Free educational services are vital to a community’s well-being and strength and should be available to all ages (and from all ages as well).  New types of community structures will be needed to support communication and interaction and will grow out of an open structure. Schools were pro
  • A commons model would allow the development of a participatory and democratic learning services model instead of a coerced factory model that seeks to award a specific degree.
  • Many homeschooling families of all types have faced down compulsory attendance laws in all 50 states in order to preserve the freedom of all families to decide on the education of their children, including the right to be exempt from the undemocratic and inhumane practices of many schools.  These include the public grading and labeling of young children, excessive homework and rote work, the lack of playtime, exercise, quality food, and arts and crafts.  These also include crowded schools, unsafe schools, inability to control bullying, testing and ranking vs providing services to strengthen native gifts, and allowing citizens to shape their lives and contribution.  
  • Schools are increasingly used for military recruitment and corporate takeover, both of which subject children and youth to manipulation by groups with vested interests and both are beyond the scope of what schools were intended to do.  
  • Corporate curricular capture removes the control and input of the citizens using schools.
  • School boards provide a superficial citizen access that is restricted by the administrative design of the school system itself. 
  • Grassroots democracy could mean that schools allow families deep choices and participation in accessing the learning services they need.
  • The nation-state should work to preserve social stability and honor social structures, working with them in the common interest. Children grow up in a family and the school should not be opposed to families nor trying to manipulate families: the facts of family beliefs can be accepted and this diversity would be an asset if families were able to choose what services they need as they work with their neighbors and retain the ability to make their own choices.  Otherwise, we are attempting to brainwash people.
  • Controversies in content do not have to be addressed at this level. Universities will decide what knowledge/skills they want as will employers. 
  • Compulsory attendance laws undermine families' input and guidance which is precisely the error handling and accountability needed for good system design. Parents should focus on helping their children rather than being forced to coerce their children into a system in which the parent's own input is not seen as relevant.  This undermines the parents within the family and it has obliterated the natural checks and balances families could provide to these ostensibly public institutions.  The vast majority of citizens involved with the schools -- the parents, have no voice or input and are subject to police action if they listen to their children and become their advocates.  Parents and are part of the grassroots, too.
  • We can see in the US, that the creation of truancy police and the placing of police in schools are natural extensions of compulsory attendance policies meant to override families, policies that have now been extended to many, many years. 
  • Grassroots democracy means communities should replace policing and measuring models with alternatives that are suited to their local needs by reclaiming education as a social service providing learning services.
  • Learning from homeschooling is key to communities taking charge of their community learning services and moving toward humane, democratic and sustainable forms of providing citizens learning services for their children.
  • The authoritarian social patterning  of children in schools may grossly weaken democratic citizen initiative.  The psychological experience of mass, forced schooling in the early 20th century in the US occurred within a social context that greatly mitigated many of the more harmful aspects of schools.  That social and economic context has disappeared in great part, from diminished social capital to decreasing soil vitality and food quality, family stress from decreasing wages and rising health care costs, these and other changes have all helped accelerate the harmful psychological impact of forced schooling without the social context that was a support 100 years ago.
  • The acculturation to invasive and abusive bureaucratic structures may condition even those in the best schools to comfort with authoritarian and undemocratic procedure. Participants may feel a learned helplessness when confronted with corporate gangs or class warfare.  
  • The reverse is also true: brutal competitors feel justified and confirmed by the 12+ years of training in forced labors in schools whose mitigating social context has weakened drastically thereby creating an entitlement attitude on the part of these "winners" instead of a community-minded attitude.  
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