State of Education 2014
The view of a participant
The start of friendships, projects, collaborations
What was State of Education? It was an alternative, it was something to do. It was release and repentance. It was confession. State of Education was a conference, it was a meeting point. It happened, more's the wonder, and that things happen is a reason to exist. It showed teachers the face of the baffled parent, the concerned TA. Shown also was the regret of the teacher who compromises, the faith of the teacher who doesn't. Loudly and softly people came and went inside the hall, the rooms. Bethnal Green that day contained ounces of possibility, it contained acres of sky.
State of Education was the start of friendships, projects, collaborations. Freedom if it did not ring at least left its number and asked we called it back. State of Education created a to do list that begot a thousand more. It was in some ways a sea change, and in others it was a continuation of what is inevitable. Did we conclude? Well, the day ended, but the struggle as the saying goes, continues. Truly we were there in the presence of each other, and perhaps we will be once again.
"I cannot heave my heart into my throat" but I can throw it down in the middle of the circle once in a while. Enough people do that, and you have enough places to start. Exactly enough. There were no spare seats and no spared feelings in some places. If we have one criticism, it is of everything.
What was State of Education? That is up to us now.
A letter from the organisers of the State of Education Conference, 2014
The conference on the 1st of March provided space for many different perspectives on radical education to be expressed. We feel that the intensity of the day and the possibility of real potential arising from the discussions, may represent a sparkle of hope for the future. We also feel that the conference has managed to take a first step in mapping the possibilities of radical education, by raising issues such as: anti-sexist education, democratic and libertarian alternatives, critical pedagogy, homeschooling, politics and ethics in teaching, organizing to reclaim education at an individual and collective level, listening to the 'voice of the youth', seeking alternatives to dominant trends and concepts in education and more.
Moreover, we see the success of this conference as an indication of an important need, that is to say the need for a relevant public debate which develops its own potential and discovers its own means in order to be heard. We believe that the above mentioned need is linked to the crisis of education today and its effect on our everyday lives. It is important to stress that we do not consider this crisis to be just about a faceless set of political decisions taking place 'in camera' but see it as a part of a wider crisis of social relations.
Considering ourselves as a part of this reality we do not intend to promote predetermined solutions and frameworks. On the contrary, our aim is to keep promoting a discussion that will help by rendering visible what is already being said and done in our everyday lives, boroughs and workplaces, but remains hidden and often marginalised. Obviously, this far surpasses what a one-day event could achieve.
These are our goals for the future:
- We want to build on the answers to the questions posed at the world café session in the morning and the subsequent workshops. We are looking for people who would like to be involved in a collective process of furthering this work and advancing its perspectives. The outcome of these processes could be part of a future publication. The form of this publication will depend on future decisions and our answers to questions such as 'What will this publication be about?', 'How should that happen?', etc.
- We are also considering organising another conference next year. We feel it is our collective responsibility to contribute by producing and presenting more elaborate views.
We are therefore inviting all of you who would like to take active part in this to join us in our next meeting.
We hope to see everyone soon,
State of Education
PS You are invited to join a meeting to decide on the next steps, which will be held on Saturday, 5 July at 14:00 at The Common House, Unit 5E, 5 Pundersons Gardens, Bethnal Green, E2 9QG.
(Bring some food to share if you like)
More comments and photos from the State of Education Conference, 1 March 2014