Education for tomorrow

I orginally wrote this article for the Morning Star newspaper, to coincide with both the inaugural NEU Annual Conference and the launch of the 'Education for Tomorrow' journal. It appeared in the newspaper on Sunday, 2019-04-14, and can be found online at the link below.

Original article

A new journal will be a radical challenge to educational hegemony, writes PHIL YEELES

ANTONIO GRAMSCI recognised that schools serve to reinforce the dominant ideas, or hegemony, of the ruling class. Paulo Freire saw the potential for education to act as a liberating force. Today, our schools fulfil both of these contradictory roles, and it is the responsibility of the class-conscious educator to ensure that critical values are inculcated in pupils, giving them the freedom to identify and confront oppression wherever they see it in society.

At a time of increasing class tensions, and continuing pressure being put upon schools and educators in accordance with the neoliberal ideology of our government, it is more important than ever for schools to be places where hegemony is not reinforced, but challenged. Education for Tomorrow has been refounded for all those who share our values of criticality and class consciousness. We do not represent any political party, but we are firmly rooted in working-class politics, bringing attention to workers’ struggles and emancipatory pedagogy.

The first issue of the new Education for Tomorrow covers a range of radical pedagogies. There is a critique of the “knowledge curriculum,” and studies of the work of Freire, Guevara, Vygotsky and Flecha. Neurobiology and the myth of measurable intelligence are tackled, as are regional analyses of British education and a comparative piece on the Cuban education system.

Issue 2 focuses more upon trade union issues in education. Professor Howard Stevenson discusses issues in organisation through a Gramscian lens, and there is a feature piece from the chief of staff of the Chicago Teachers’ Union. There are discussions of UCU campaigns, mobilisation theory and the history of trade union organisation in education.

Education for Tomorrow is a crucial radical voice within the education and labour movement, bringing attention to alternative visions and challenges to the neoliberal view of education that has resulted in the creeping privatisation of schooling, the narrowing of the curriculum and the increasing responsiblity for systemic, societal issues that continues to be heaped upon teachers. By raising the profile of workers’ struggles and alternative pedagogies, EfT is a valuable tool for building the challenge to hegemonic neoliberalism.

Visit the website, share the articles widely, and subscribe to the paper edition to help build the movement today. The EfT board will also be at the NEU annual conference in Liverpool this week, so come and find our stall to find out more about the journal.

Those in the education sector cannot afford not to take a stand on the issues that Education for Tomorrow seeks to cover. In Freire’s words, "The educator has the duty of not being neutral."

Phil Yeeles is on the editorial board of Education for Tomorrow. He is an NEU activist and a Junior Researcher at LKMco, the youth and education "think and action tank."