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Education for Liberation. The Black Panthers and the Oakland Community School. Background. This will be the third lesson sequence in a sequence around the importance of education and schooling of children of color throughout American history.

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Education for Liberation


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    1. Education for Liberation The Black Panthers and the Oakland Community School

    2. Background This will be the third lesson sequence in a sequence around the importance of education and schooling of children of color throughout American history. The previous two lesson sequences focus on education as a tool for extermination (Native American Boarding Schools) and education as a tool for assimilation (Tape v. Hurley and The Lemon Grove Incident).

    3. Lesson Goals: Students are introduced to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and have a basic understanding of what the BPP stood and fought for. Students examine the role of social programming within the BPP, specifically that of schools and education in achieving the goals of the BPP. Students examine first person accounts and critically evaluate the effectiveness of the Oakland Community School and the BPP’s educational philosophy. Students will examine poetry related to libratory education and write poems that reflect their own educational experience under the lens of the OCS and the BPP’s philosophy of education.

    4. Day 1: Context Goal: Students have a basic understanding of the Black Panther Party, in general, and the philosophy of the Oakland Community School, specifically. Guiding Question: Why do you think education was at the center of programs for black resistance, empowerment and liberation? Process: Students will watch Eyes on the Prize: Power! As they watch they will be required to answer viewing questions. Students, as a class, will do a reading of an overview of the OCS written by its former director, Ericka Huggins. Students will do a close reading and formulate questions of that text for homework.

    5. Day 2: Textual Analysis Goal: Students formally analyze and form opinions on descriptions of the OCS and other BPP educational programs. Process: Students are broken into 6 groups and given pairs of documents, some are modified, some are not. They then contextualize, corroborate, closely read and form opinions about the documents using a graphic organizer with guided questions. Students will then discuss similarities and differences between group texts.

    6. Day 3: Literary Analysis Goals: Students will analyze various ways that libratory education has been expressed through poetry. Students will write poems that reflect their positions on libratory education and their own educational journeys.

    7. Final Assessment Students respond to the question: Is formal education the most important part of a struggle to the liberate people? If so, why? If not, what is more important? Students must respond to this question using a non-verbal, graphic or constructed, representation.