“Education (should be) the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” – Paulo Freire
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ― Malcolm X
The Alliance for a Just Society kicked off our new political education program – the Online Community College for Community Organizations – with a training course for the facilitators who will be central to the successful implementation of the program.
Ten staff and leaders from five states (Maine, Montana, Oregon, Virginia and Washington) participated in the two-day session. They were introduced to, and then helped shape, the political education curricula. They became familiar with the technology the program will be run through, and discussed the specifics of how the program will be implemented in their states. It was a busy two days!
The addition of an online component to the Alliance’s existing training program is exciting. The Online Community College for Community Organization will give us the ability to connect leaders across the country. We will be able to engage them in critical thinking and dialogue in order to develop their analytical skills and illuminate our values and worldview. Our curricula were developed to provoke discussion by showing videos, suggesting readings, and referencing pop culture such as art and music.
Community colleges were developed to make continuing education accessible, affordable and flexible for people in local communities. They have given ‘non-traditional’ students access to higher education, breaking down elite barriers to lifelong learning. That’s the idea behind our Online Community College, to provide a space for engagement with political ideas, especially when that engagement is tied to action. Our audience will include leaders at all levels of experience, online activists and other members drawn to the course content.
The program will go live with grassroots leaders on May 29. Some 75 leaders are expected to experiment in the first round of the pilot. The first session is devoted to economic inequality. Later trainings will focus on citizenship and another on the role of government.
All of the curricula are designed to give participants a framework for analyzing multiple issues, to understand the forces and systems that drive the problems we seek to address, to grapple with the contradictions we face in organizing, and to practice developing political vision and creativity around solutions.
We are thrilled to get this program rolling and to have a strong team of organizers and leaders across the country dedicated to making it a success!