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Proposal Details

Proposal ID677
Proposal2012 Platform amendment proposal: Education - Massachusetts
PresenterPlatform Committee Sponsored by GRP of MA
Floor ManagerBudd Dickinson
Discussion05/29/2012 - 06/10/2012
Voting06/11/2012 - 06/17/2012
Presens Quorum31 0.6666
Consens Quorum35 0.6666 of Yes and No Votes


The Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts submits this amendment to update the 2010 platform by removing the subsection; "Education" from Chapter II. E. and placing a new text in Chapter I titled "Public Education." This new text, incorporating many of the valuable aspects of the current text, is intended to address perceived inadequacies in articulating the radical changes needed in public education if the Green program of change to meet both ecological crisis and political stasis is to succeed.

The leaving out of some specificities of the current version in the amended one does not indicate disagreement with their statements. In almost all cases, these are subsumed in the proposed text.


Callahan, Raymond E. (1964) Education and the Cult of Efficiency: a Study of the Social Forces That Have Shaped the Administration of the Public Schools. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.

Bowles, S. & Gintis, H. (1976). Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life. Basic Books Inc., New York.

Jeans, Bruce A. (1992) ENHANCING STUDENT LEARNING BY ENHANCING THE TEACHER'S TEACHING Deakin University: Victoria, Australia (Manuscript http) ://


Remove Chapter II, Section E. 1. Education. Place a new section, preferably following Section C. Community with the following title and language;

" ." Public Education

Public education is the foundation of grassroots democracy, preparing people to participate in a complex society, respectful of the values spelled out in the Green Party platform. Public schools must coordinate with the educational roles played by family and community. Teachers should be empowered to provide settings and manage use of time to optimally engage students in age-appropriate learning--developing understanding, autonomy, skills, critical consciousness, imagination, and exploring roles in society.

From its origin as training in the '3 R's' for self-governing citizens, U.S. public education has become a sector of the U.S. economy, preparing students to be consumers in that economy and designed to channel young adults into higher education as prerequisite to entering the job market. Commercially promoted curriculum materials and testing compromise the exercise of skilled teaching and contribute to the alienation of students. The bottom-line business model--pass the tests or lose--can only do further harm under conditions of increasing cultural heterogeneity, rapid ecological disruption, and growing social inequality.

1. Equal Access for All

  a. Federal education policy should mandate appropriate funding to local school districts, so that no children are deprived because of local conditions. Unworkable and false achievement standards should not be mandated, e.g. No Child Left Behind Act.
  b. Budgeting should give priority to early childhood educational experience for all, and to home and community based programs that act as important supplements to formal schooling.

  c. Budgeting should provide for programs addressing the needs of transient students, urban and rural, and students dealing with difficult circumstances, so that they suffer less harm from the instability of their lives.

  d. Cost of university education should not be a barrier to students. Free higher education, in colleges, technical schools, and apprenticeships, should be available to all.

  e. Adult education programs should be offered in community centers, schools, and prisons, as well as through other media.

2. Age-appropriate Schooling

  a. Earliest learning includes personal interaction with nurturing adults, other children, exercise of motor skills, imagination, and creative capacities.
  b. Music and movement, as well as number, reading, making things, using hand tools, growing and preparing food, and performance of chores should be an integral part of the school day and the curriculum.

  c. Classroom reliance on digital technology in early education must be reduced as quickly as possible.

  d. The connections between learning and development should be the basis for directing the attention of the individual child while introducing writing, reading, and numbers, and additional languages, which are most easily learned early.

  e. Learning about natural and social environments through observation, stories, and participation are important throughout elementary school.

  f. Middle school students should be engaged in the critique of their own learning, and influences from the social milieu, such as advertising. By this time, the ability to distinguish the necessary from the contingent should be highly developed, as well as the understanding that choices have consequences.

  g. Middle school students can benefit from the integration of apprenticeship programs, guided by community mentors, into the school curriculum.

  h. The development of critical thinking should precede instruction related to any set of metaphysical assumptions, whether those of science, religion, or other world views.

3. Values in Learning

  a. In addition to individual development, public schools should promote respect for others and the common good. Good citizenship can be encouraged by actively instructing young children in how to play together, learn from each other, and use language to arrive at consensual decisions that allow for dissent. It is especially important to teach children the pleasures of caring for one another. Older students usually respond positively to a democratic school setting and can also benefit from a civics curriculum which helps them engage with the wider world. .

  b. The pleasures of diversity and the pleasures of freedom accompany one another. Learning toleration requires understanding that people differ in their specific abilities and inclinations, and that everyone must be given the same degree of respect. This is something best learned through imitation, and counter-instruction when needed.

  c. Peace, and social harmony do not accord with the glorification of military force. This should not prevent the teaching of history; or the inhibition of children's games. Conflict-resolution may require instruction accompanied by careful observation.

  d. Public education must give as many opportunities for 'vocational' learning as possible. Children with early inclinations towards vocations should be encouraged, and their opportunities for broader learning should not be diminished.

4. Public Education and Society

  a. Every State must begin to develop schools where the focus is on providing environments for individual learning rather than on teaching according to fixed curricula. Home-based schooling should be recognized as a viable alternative.

  b. Schools should be encouraged to experiment with varied structures, e.g. maintaining the same learning group or classroom for periods that are shorter or longer than the school year.

  c. The schools should encourage reasoning and acquaintance with works of the creative imagination to counteract dumbing down by corporate product advertising, textbook publishing, and their inculcation of gender and other socially accepted stereotypes.

  d. Recruiting, non-military and military, as well as corporate advertising, should be forbidden in the school-room. Corporations should not be allowed to use public schools for commercial purposes, including sale of junk food.

  e. Healthy school meals can be provided by supporting Farm-to-School programs which offer food from local family farms and educational opportunities.

  f. Replacing the current infra-structure is an immediate need, beginning with the worst served localities, and states. Physical environment influences learning.

  g. Consolidation of school districts for the sake of administrative efficiency should cease. In both rural and urban environments the school should be within walking distance or accessible by free transportation.

  h. Chartering for-profit entities to manage public schools and engaging private contractors to provide in-school services do not conform with the role of public schools in society.

5. Teaching

  a. The curricula of teacher education must be radically altered to provide for teachers in the classroom who can innovate with children, other teachers, and parents. Thus the role of supervisors can be eliminated by selecting, as school principals, teachers who can best help others.

  b. The social importance of the teacher must be recognized and compensated accordingly. Financial compensation of experienced teachers should never fall below the local mean, and new teachers should be able to attain this within a year or two.

  c. The teacher in charge of a class is to be accorded professional status, working as a member of a group, in schools dedicated to furthering positive and peaceful social adaptation in a period of rapid ecological change.

Original wording to be replaced, 2020 Platform:

1. Education
The Green Party supports equal access to high-quality education, and sharp increases in financial aid for college students.
A great challenge facing the people of the United States is to educate ourselves to build a just, sustainable, humane and democratic future, and to become responsible and effective citizens of the local and global communities we share. Greens believe every child deserves a public education that fosters critical and holistic thought, and provides the breadth and depth of learning necessary to become an active citizen and a constructive member of our society. We do not believe our public school system, as it presently operates, helps us reach that goal.
The Green Party is strongly opposed to the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education. We believe that the best educational experience is guaranteed by the democratic empowerment of organized students, their parents and communities along with organized teachers.
We must stop disinvestment in education and instead put it at the top of our social and economic agenda. Effective schools have sufficient resources. Too many of our teachers are overworked, underpaid, and starved of key materials. We also must be more generous to our schools so that our children will learn what generosity is, and know enough to be able to be generous to us in return.
Greens believe in education, not indoctrination. We do not think that schools should turn our children into servile students, employees, consumers or citizens. We believe it is very important to teach our children how to ask good questions.
Unfortunately, we often expect too little from our students, teachers and schools. We must teach our children and teenagers to be leaders, and challenge them with great works of literature, economics, philosophy, history, music, and the arts.
We also call attention to the results of a quarter century of corporate funding from the likes of the Bradley and Wal-Mart Family Foundations and a decade of No Child Left Behind — a vast, well-endowed and lucrative sector which seeks to dismantle, privatize, or militarize public education and destroy teachers unions. Regimes of high-stakes standardized testing and the wholesale diversion of resources away from public schools are provoking crises for which the bipartisan corporate consensus recommends school closings, dissolution of entire school districts and replacement by unaccountable, profit-based charter schools. The Green Party is unalterably opposed to the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education.
The Green Party views learning as a lifelong and life-affirming process to which all people should have access. We cannot state more forcefully our belief that in learning, and openness to learning, we find the foundation of our Platform.
We recommend the following actions:

a. Eliminate gross inequalities in school funding. Federal policy on education should act principally to provide equal access to a quality education.

b. Provide free college tuition to all qualified students at public universities and vocational schools.

c. Oppose the administration of public schools by private, for-profit entities.

d. Increase funding for after-school and daycare programs.

e. Promote a diverse set of educational opportunities, including bi-lingual education, continuing education, job retraining, distance learning, mentoring and apprenticeship programs.

f. Give K-12 classroom teachers professional status and salaries commensurate with advanced education, training and responsibility.

g. Teach non-violent conflict resolution and humane education at all levels of education.

h. Prohibit advertising to children in schools. Corporations should not be allowed to use the schools as vehicles for commercial advertising or corporate propaganda.

i. Provide healthy school meals that are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and offer plant-based vegetarian options. Support Farm-to-School programs that provide food from local family farms and educational opportunities.

j. Ban the sale of soda pop and junk food in schools. Junk food is defined as food or beverages that are relatively high in saturated or trans fat, added sugars or salt, and relatively low in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.

k. Oppose military and corporate control over the priorities and topics of university academic research.

l. Expand opportunities for universal higher education and life-long learning.

m. Make student loans available to all college students, with forgiveness for graduates who choose public service occupations.

n. Repeal the No Child Left Behind Act.

o. Include a vigorous and engrossing civics curriculum in later elementary and secondary schools, to teach students to be active citizens.

p. Encourage parental responsibility by supporting parenting and increasing opportunities for parents to be as involved as possible in their childrens’ education. Values start with parents. Teaching human sexuality is a parental and school responsibility.

q. Expand arts education and physical education opportunities at school.

r. Recognize the viable alternative of home-based education.

s. Oppose efforts to restrict the teaching of scientific information and the portrayal of religious belief as fact.

t. Provide adequate academic and vocational education and training to prisoners.

u. We urge that our nation amend its “binding declaration” with respect to the “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict” to join the rest of the world in setting 18 as the absolute minimum age for military recruitment.

v. No person should be permitted to sign away eight (8) years of their life to the armed forces, without full written disclosure of what is expected of them and what they can expect in return from the government. We demand that the practice of deceiving prospective service recruits about the truth of their service contract be recognized as a fraudulent practice and sufficient grounds for revoking an enlistment contract. Current practices holding individuals legally to all the terms of their military service contract should also apply to the government.

w. We demand an end to the militarization of our schools. JROTC programs are an expensive drain on our limited educational resources and a diversion from their important mission to prepare our young to assume their role in a peaceful tomorrow. ASVAB testing is being used to mine public school student bodies for data to support military recruiting. Forbid military access to student records. The Pentagon’s Recruitment Command is mis­directing public tax dollars on manipulative campaigns that prey on our young. We insist that local education authorities stand up to these destructive practices.


IMPLEMENTATION: Approval of this proposal will amend the 2012 Draft Platform, to be presented for approval at the 2012 Presidential Nominating Convention.

CONTACT: Jan Martell, co-chair, 919-682-2472,
Bruce Hinkforth, co-chair, 262-569-1370,
Section editor: Jan Martell,


2010 Platform:
Proposition 636:

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