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Fighting for Public Education with the Activist Hippies, the Original Hipsters

Austin is well-know for its hipsters that wander the streets during our SXSW music festival.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 3.01.39 AM

But, did you know that “Hippies” were the original “Hipsters”? From Wikipedia:

The hippie (or hippy) subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The word ‘hippie’ came from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The origins of the terms hip and hep are uncertain, though by the 1940s both had become part of African American jive slang and meant “sophisticated; currently fashionable; fully up-to-date”. The Beats adopted the term hip, and early hippies inherited the language and countercultural values of the Beat Generation.

Recently, I had the special opportunity to hang out with two original sixties activist hipsters on The Rag Blog radio show. What is the Rag Blog?

The Rag Blog (TheRagBlog.com) is a reader-supported Internet newsmagazine produced by activist journalists committed to progressive social change. The Rag Blog is a digital-age rebirth of the pioneering underground newspaper, The Rag, published in Austin, Texas, from 1966-1977.

Rag Radio is broadcast on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin.

My partner on the show was Chicago’s Mike Klonsky. His bio:

Michael Klonsky, a veteran of SDS and the civil rights and anti-war movement, is a Chicago-based educator, an education theorist, and a public schools activist, and is one of the leaders of the modern small schools movement which has done much to transform the face of secondary school education in the U.S. Klonsky, who teaches in the College of Education at DePaul University, is the author of “Small Schools: The Numbers Tell a Story” and co-author, with Bill Ayers and Gabe Lyon, of “A Simple Justice: The Challenge for Teachers in Small Schools.”

Klonsky all writes the very popular SmallTalk Blog. Here is what he had to say about the show:

Julian Vasquez Heilig and Mike Klonsky join Thorne Dreyer in discussing our endangered public education system, the nature and genesis of the flawed “educational reform” movement, and ideas about how public schools can be improved and can be saved from privatization.

Vasquez Heilig hosted the Network for Public Education’s first National Conference, held March 1- 2, 2014, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin….  The group was founded by noted author and educational policy analyst Diane Ravitch in 2013, and has become a prominent voice in the education reform debate.

The title of the segment was Fighting for Public Education. You can listen to the show here.

(Photo Credit: Roger Baker) (Except for the selfie)

For more TV and Radio discussions click here.

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Please blame Siri for any typos.

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About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (654 Articles)
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

7 Comments on Fighting for Public Education with the Activist Hippies, the Original Hipsters

  1. HispanEduca // March 26, 2014 at 11:43 am // Reply

    I was still a mocosa in 5th grade when the hippie movement was in full throttle. That generation’s social activism was inspirational for me, and I had been waiting for that to happen again despite the apathy of younger generations to get involved.

    When the Occupy movement started a few years ago it seemed to me it was going to be the rebirth of the social activism among young people that so characterized the hippie generation. Since the first Occupy in Wall Street, I believed we needed and were ready for sort of an Occupy Testing-Education-Profiteers-Big-Companies to happen.

    As an educator, journalist, and education advocate who attended NPE’s conference in Austin, I realize now that in the 21st Century we have an even hippier (if you will) activism on behalf of the education inequity and, may I say, the education apartheid we are witnessing today.

    Can’t tell you enough how much it pleases me to know that there are more “underground journalism” vehicles to expose the farce of education reforms that are closing the doors of education opportunities to Black, poor, and my own fellow Hispanic children.

    One of those vehicles that exposes what is going on with education in the 21st Century is Jonathan Kozol’s book, The Shame of the Nation: the restoration of the Apartheid in schooling America. And now that, thanks to you, Julián, I have been introduced to Rag Blog Radio, I know we are all occupying, not only the testing companies, but the education inequity conversation as a nation.

    Thanks to you guys.

    Lourdes

    Like

  2. Monty J. Thornburg, PhD // March 26, 2014 at 11:41 am // Reply

    While we are at it, – let us not forget the “Free Speech Movement” (FSM) across the Bay from the Height in S.F., at UC Berkeley – 1964-65. And earlier, the Freedom Riders from the East Coast and Mid-Western Universities … all connected in many ways along with Mo Town and Chess Records, and others influenced the hippie movement- I think.

    The Free Speech Movement was a college campus phenomenon inspired first by the struggle for civil rights and later was driven by opposition to the Vietnam War as SDS grew out of the (FSM) and moved to other sit-ins at Columbia University and elsewhere.

    Today, the (FSM) is even institutionalized as a Cafe’ at the Moffitt Library in the middle of the UC Berkley campus. It would be a nice idea, I think, if “free speech” were embraced inside the classrooms and the halls of public education. Especially, with some open expression about what’s happening to public education via the “educational industrial complex” – hegemony- NCLB, CCSS, TFA, and the like- a theme of this Blog.

    Like

  3. Julian,

    I loved doing Rag Radio with you and my old friend Thorne Dreyer.

    You are one among a rare breed of academic researchers who have discovered my connection to the beat and hip generations. I thank you for that. That’s actually our old bus (second from left, tip row) or maybe not.

    Although, you took note of Greenwich Village and the Haight in S.F., you neglected Venice Beach (long before White Men Can’t Jump), the Venice West Cafe and The Gas House, in my home town of L.A., where the beat generation was really grew up. It was the hangout for disciples of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and other Beat pioneers who planted the seeds of L.A.’s counterculture and resistance movements.

    Someone described the beats as “communists out to abolish the good life for everyone; instead they attacked the good life by refusing to acknowledge it as good.”

    You need to check out: Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane Di Prima, Tales of Beatnik Glory by Ed Sanders of the Fugs, and especially The Holy Barbarians by the legendary beat writer for the L.A. Free Press, Lawrence Lipton.. Kerouac himself put some great images of the L.A. beat scene in his book, On The Road. Lipton once compared Venice to the Left Bank in Paris. Funny if you’ve ever been to either.

    While I grew up much more the jock and then the politico rather than hippie (i usually had a job), I must admit crossing that great divide on several occasions and hung at Venice West for a while during my days at L.A. City College and then again in the mid-’60s when Venice’s book stores and coffee houses became a center of political organizing. My musical and literary tastes are still rooted there in many ways.

    Thanks again,
    Mike Klonsky

    P.S. I need to borrow that hat.

    Like

  4. My opinion is:

    “Small” schools are to “Industrial” Schools as “Organic” farming is to “Industrial” farming.

    Like

  5. lourdes.perez // March 26, 2014 at 8:27 am // Reply

    I tried to post this on your blog, Julián, but “the system” did not accept it.

    At any rate, I was so glad to hear about the Rag Blog Radio as sort of an underground journalism endeavor, that here are my thoughts.

    Best,

    Lourdes

    I was still a mocosa in 5th grade when the hippie movement was in full throttle. That generation’s social activism was inspirational for me, and I had been waiting for that to happen again despite the apathy of younger generations to get involved.

    When the Occupy movement started a few years ago it seemed to me it was going to be the rebirth of the social activism among young people that so characterized the hippie generation. Since the first Occupy in Wall Street, I believed we needed and were ready for sort of an Occupy Testing-Education-Profiteers-Big-Companies to happen.

    As an educator, journalist, and education advocate who attended NPE’s conference in Austin, I realize now that in the 21st Century we have an even hippier (if you will) activism on behalf of the education inequity and, may I say, the education apartheid we are witnessing today.

    Can’t tell you enough how much it pleases me to know that there are more “underground journalism” vehicles to expose the farce of education reforms that are closing the doors of education opportunities to Black, poor, and my own fellow Hispanic children.

    One of those vehicles that exposes what is going on with education in the 21st Century is Jonathan Kozol’s book, The Shame of the Nation: the restoration of the Apartheid in schooling America. And now that, thanks to you, Julián, I have been introduced to Rag Blog Radio, I know we are all occupying, not only the testing companies, but the education inequity conversation as a nation.

    Thanks to you guys.

    Lourdes

    Maria de Lourdes Pérez Ramírez, MA President, Founder HispanEduca, Inc. PO Box 621133/ Orlando, Fl. / 32862-1133 319-331-5827

    About HispanEduca HispanEduca is a nonprofit organization, founded and registered in the state of Florida by Hispanic educators and parents.

    Our mission is to empower Hispanic parents, especially from low-income families so they have the opportunity to influence and develop education policy that help increase Hispanic/Latino education attainment levels.

    > On March 26, 2014 at 3:33 AM Cloaking Inequity > wrote: > > Julian Vasquez Heilig posted: “Austin is well-know for its hipsters that > wander the streets during our SXSW music festival. But, did you know that > “Hippies” were the original “Hipsters”? From Wikipedia: The hippie (or hippy) > subculture was originally a youth movement that arose” >

    Like

  6. Monty J. Thornburg, PhD // March 26, 2014 at 6:17 am // Reply

    This post on hippies, SDS, and “fighting public education” coming on the heals of the previous post, “Colonizing the Black Natives: Reflections from a former NOLA Charter School Dean of Students” juxtaposes a dilemma in educational reform.

    Both charter schools and public schools are operating under the umbrella of the same hegemony, i.e., a utilitarian philosophy aimed at creating a “system” that creates the “greatest good” for the “greatest number” philosophy … This marketizing philosophy ignores cultural competence and in its ultimate form as described in the NOLA Colonizing article attempts to castigate “outliers” or any students who are different from a perceived “norm” as defined by those in control- the colonizers …

    This includes, of course, many black and white deans who carry out the work- but, without the incite of the author, “griff519” in the previous post.

    In NOLA, this dynamic conflict between “small school” advocates, and reformers who in part were rebelling against the dominant hegemony, against the the “colonizers” throughout the 70s in NOLA, became advocates for a “Free School, and Open Education movement” and for “magnet schools” in contrast to a “traditional” and “colonized” “segregated” public school system. I suspect a similar rebellion occured in Austin, TX as it did in many cities- led by Johnathan Kozel’s “Free School Movement” …

    The moderate success of the free school, open education advocates in NOLA, in the case of my experience, and with similar movements elsewhere, ultimately became blamed for the “decline” of public education, and the for putting the “Nation at Risk.” … (a generalization that I’ve heard since about “hippies” … and education.)

    Many, if not most Black public schools in NOLA then, and White public schools too, as NOLA struggled with “desegregation” and “white flight” to Jefferson Parish, operated much as described in the past article as a “colonizing model” or to put this in a different and on a national scale, operated as described in Tyack’s “The One Best School” model.

    My belief is that many corporate agenda leaders see charter schools as a way to take back control from those they believe have SDS, hippie, hipster, and -resistance to cultural hegemony- and, to re-segregate society more by class and income level than race … but, too often due to “racism- writ large” it often amounts to the same thing- by race!

    Like

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Fighting for Public Education with the Activist Hippies, the Original Hipsters | Educational Policy Information
  2. What’s a nice kid like you doing in a place like this? | Educational Policy Information

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