Julian Vasquez Heilig @CamForum to Discuss The Health of Democracy and Privatizing Education

From Cambridge Forum:

“The Massachusetts School Law of 1642 laid out the rationale for public education: “Forasmuch as the good education of children is of singular behoof and benefit to any Common-wealth.” How do contemporary efforts to privatize public education square with the civic role that education has played in American democracy? Internationally recognized leader in education policy Julian Vasquez Heilig examines the variety of ways in which public education is being privatized in the name of “reform” and suggests ways for citizens to respond that both improve educational experience and strengthen the societal and civic role that education plays.cambridgeforum-200x200

Cambridge Forum programs are held in the historic First Parish (Unitarian Universalist) at 3 Church Street (Harvard Square), in Cambridge. The format includes a relatively brief introductory statement (20 minutes) from the speaker, with a 10 minute response, followed by a moderated discussion with our live audience that would last approximately 60 minutes. Cambridge Forum is also inviting a teacher with experience in a broad range of Boston-area schools to serve as respondent and moderator.privatization

This forum is part of Cambridge Forum’s 2015 series on “The Health of Democracy.” During the winter, our programs will focus on the relationship between a healthy democracy and a robust social contract, with particular speakers examining the role that social immobility, wealthy inequality, privatization, polarization, the corporate media, and disenfranchisement play in our society today. After the speaker has described the threat posed by each of these factors, moderators will discuss ways that citizens can take action to respond to these challenges.cfonion

Questions that were key in conceptualizing this forum include: How do contemporary efforts to privatize public education square with the civic role that education has played in American democracy? What are the various ways in which public education is being privatized in the name of “reform”? How can citizens respond with efforts that both improve the educational experience and strengthen the societal and civic role that education plays?

In fall of 2014, Cambridge Forum began its 48th year of presenting free, public lectures with guest speakers in Harvard Square. Featuring prominent scholars, writers, scientists and artists, Cambridge Forum is dedicated to presenting ideas and topics of public interest and concern from a variety of fields and points of view. Our roster of speakers has included Buckminster Fuller, Kevin Phillips, Lani Guinier, Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, Lester Brown, Naomi Klein, Howard Gardner, Jonathan Kozol, Lawrence Lessig, Garrison Keillor, Marian Wright Edelman, Deborah Meier, Chris Hedges, and John Kenneth Galbraith, among many, many others. Our forums are taped, edited and distributed for broadcast on National Public Radio, reaching our nationwide network of public, college and community radio stations as half-hour programs, with a core listener base of a quarter-million people. Selected Forum’s are also available as podcasts and YouTube videos.”Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 7.23.56 AM

I hope to see you March 8 at 3 p.m.!


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A couple of episodes from the Cambridge Forum’s YouTube channel:


  • Pingback: Will you stink up the privatization garden party with me? | Cloaking Inequity

  • Julian – Is the forum open to anyone to come? Do I need to make reservations? Could not tell from the website.


  • Working from the point of view of Professor Robert Brown, esteemed Black Superintendent in Greene County, Alabama, 1970-1980, I too am researching and examining privatization v. public education and it’s thwarted promise, “Another Dream Deferred” because of the “Backlash” to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill and the 1965 Voting Rights Bill in the Black Belt of Alabama. My question(s) are: Did the grand narrative of “privatization” and “libertarian ideals” really gain a foothold with privatized efforts in the Deep South to maintain segregation with private academies? Was the bravery of so many Black youth in the South to desegregate schools and other public places and to force more fairness in hiring practices in the South ultimately turned back by the meme of being a fiscal conservative? That became the refrain in the South for White politicians to jump from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. In 2010 with the victories of libertarian Tea Party candidates the last White, Democrat coalition political figure was defeated – Alabama became ALL White Republican, or ALL Black Democrat. This year with the defeat in Louisiana of Mary Landreau, the entire South is controlled by Republicans. The Southern Republican wing gives the National Republicans total control of both houses with a libertarian – anti-public school agenda! The South, in Mississippi was the the last region historically to adopt “universal public education’ and was always historically less supportive of public education than other regions of the country, particularly, MA. Now it appears, to me, the South will attempt to lead a coalition to destroy public education.


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