There is a Need!
It is a critical moment nationally in terms of education, because public education is under attack, it is being privatized. So the opportunities for an education have withered and shrunk for all and even more so for poor working class, indigenous, women and peoples of color. Even the public education curriculum left standing is test-based teaching making it less and less, pedagogy based on critical thinking.
At the same time we see nationally more and more popular and political education and leadership development education happening and growing in the social movements particularly with youth leadership development. The emphasis in this last decade has been on youth leadership workshops, institutes and seminars. The goal of the social movement educational programs and institutes has been to develop new ‘cadre’ and ‘leaders’, but still railed to the ‘training model’ of popular and political education.
A need exists to ‘upgrade’ the popular and political education programs into a ‘University’ setting and level that create ‘convergence’ of multiple educational efforts on-going and ‘integrate’ them to become alternative institutions to the system and the beginning of dismantling the old and building the new ‘other world is possible’. The social movement organizations at the grassroots and in Indigenous or poor and peoples of color communities need to have Universities with out walls allowing learning and shared learning to take place outside and inside the classroom and in non-traditional settings. Many social movement leaders and staff have at this very moment a big need to continue or finish their higher education but they find it too difficult to go to a higher institution with a traditional curriculum and degree programs. They need a University that can go to them where they work and where they struggle and organize, in other words where the learning and teaching and theory and practice is actually taking place. Hundreds of social movement organizers, leaders and activists are in need of a higher education at their workplace and community.