Democratizing Education

A democratic form of government, a democratic way of life, presupposes free public education over a long period; it presupposes also an education for personal responsibility that too often is neglected.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
A university should not be an adjunct of business, nor of the military, nor of government. Its curriculum should teach change, not the status quo. Then ... it might possibly keep us all from being victims of the corporate state.
~ Justice William Douglas The Democratizing Education Program works to unite student associations, labor unions, faculty organizations, and grassroots student, parent, and community groups in a national movement against the corporatization of education, and for the democratization of schools, colleges, and universities. This program raises up student, staff, faculty, and community unionism and industrial action, including industrial strikes, as essential parts of effective education organizing.

Democratizing Education Network (DEN)

September 25, 2009

The Current Crisis in Higher Education

Over the past year, campus-based organizers have staged a series of significant mobilizations across the Unites States, including (but not limited to) antiracist rallies, massive antiwar demonstrations, sit-ins and building occupations, labor strikes (by both grad unions and staff), student strikes and boycotts, and Tent State Universities.

CCFS: Free Speech Organizing Toolkit

June 19, 2009

The Free Speech Organizing Toolkit is designed to provide campus leaders and free speech supporters with the tools to work with higher education leaders to remove impediments to a marketplace of ideas on their campus.

This valuable toolkit was produced by the Center for Campus Free Speech. The Center acts as a clearinghouse of information, provides specialized support to campuses, and connects concerned educators, administrators, lawyers and students into a national network. The Center draws advice and guidance from a group of leaders in the higher education and legal communities.

Democratizing Education Charter

June 16, 2009

Adopted at the 2005 Democratizing Education Convention in Madison, Wisconsin:

  1. Full Public Funding for Public Higher Education
  2. Free Access to Higher Education and Abolition of Tuition
  3. Affirmative Action to End Institutionalized Racism and Sexism
  4. Full Recognition of the Right of Students and Workers to Organize
  5. Democratic Self-Government of Higher Education
  6. Service to the Public Welfare, Not Corporate Profits
  7. Free Speech and Academic Freedom
  8. Debt Forgiveness of Student Loans
  9. Civic Education for a Democratic Society
  10. Education, not war. Schools, Not Jails

CENTER for CAMPUS FREE SPEECH: Guide to Student Activity Fees

March 31, 2009

The Center for Campus Free Speech releases there Guide to Student Activity Fees - a primer on the legal issues involved in creating and managing a student activity fee system.

Student fee systems are used by students across the country to provide the resources for a wide variety of out-of-classroom activities.

Students fund everything from service organizations to advocacy to educational forums and guest speakers. They debate and learn about critical issues like multiculturalism, the environment, education policy, conflicts in the Middle East and religion. They learn new skills and create change on major problems the world faces.

Student activity fees give involved students the resources to create a vibrant marketplace of ideas on campus.

BACON: A constitutional right to an education

November 29, 2009
David Bacon

Is there a “constitutional right to education”?

Legal scholar and civil rights advocate Erwin Chemerinsky says there is. “There has to be a right to education in the Constitution,” he declares, “and equal protection is a Constitutional imperative.”

But according to Chemerinsky, this right has been fundamentally undermined by the Supreme Court. With the retirement of Justice David Souter, and the posible retirement in the next few years of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens, the role of the court in defending the right to education will be thrust into the national spotlight. What role might their replacements play in guaranteeing education to American children, and reversing the conservative momentum of the last three decades?

Center for Campus Free Speech: Facts Still Count

April 13, 2009
Megan Fitzgerald

Campus Free Speech proves with its new report, Facts Still Count, that David Horowitz's recent books are not honest in their criticisms of campuses and faculty. The Center for Campus Free Speech is affiliated with the Democratizing Education Network, and a great source of information regarding important academic freedom and campus free speech issues.

As part of the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition, Campus Free Speech has just released a new report: Facts Still Count.

Additional Information: 

You can read the report at
Campus Free Speech can be found at
Campus Free Speech page on Protecting academic Freedom:

VIDEO: Building a Democracy Movement in the USA

December 28, 2006
Ben Manski, David Cobb, Juscha Robinson, and Pabitra Benjamin

Check out this short video from "BUILDING A DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES", a workshop by Liberty Tree Fellows Benjamin, Cobb, Manski, and Robinson, one of about 100 sessions at the 2006 Midwest Social Forum. The video is a production of On the Earth Productions, a media production company dedicated to informing the public about important ethical, environmental and political issues that affect our every-day lives.

Additional Information: 

To download the video, click here.

For information on the Midwest Social Forum, click here.

To check out On the Earth Productions, click here.

Campus Organizer's Guide to Democratizing Education

December 21, 2006
Eric Prindle

An organizing guide for students, faculty, staff, and community members interested in promoting democracy in higher education, and a higher education system in service to a democratic, inclusive, society.

Additional Information: 

Please download this 20-page pdf-format guide by clicking here.

Understanding Student Unionism: A Canadian Perspective

November 1, 2006
Evan Thornton at the Democratizing Education Convention, Madison, Wisconsin

To place the Canadian student movement in context, I want to start with a brief overview of the national affiliations on a typical Canadian campus, which I hope will help give an idea of the significant difference in the nature of the challenge faced by Canadian student organizers compared to their U.S. counterparts.

Faculty and Academic Staff:

Starting with teaching staff, the campus will typically have unionized Faculty Association that are affiliated nationally with the Canadian Association of University Teachers CAUT which represents 48,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals. In its own words CAUT is:

Additional Information: 

Evan Thornton is an associate of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and director of University Watch. Thornton has three decades of experience in campus organizing, first as a student union organizer, then with labour, and most recently as director and editor of University Watch. is an independently incorporated, non-profit donor-financed organisation largely run by volunteers committed to the vision that universities ought to be transparent institutions serving in the public interest. It is also intended as an umbrella organisation linking various stakeholders, including interested private citizens, community groups, students, student governments, agencies, think tanks, and so on.

Don't Let Missouri End Secular Public Higher Education!

American Association of University Professors, UMKC Chapter
What's happening: 

The Missouri House passed HB 213, the "Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act," on April 12.

The bill (now S 848) is now before the State Senate.

Most notable is the bill's explicit protection of "the viewpoint that the Bible is inerrant" (infallibility as interpreted by ultra-conservatives). The Act would legally empower fundamentalist students claiming infallibility to file grievances against non-fundamentalist instructors and have them disciplined for "lack of respect" or "viewpoint discrimination." That is, they can be disciplined for rejecting the infallibility of
ultra-conservative tenets (creationism replaces evolution in the life sciences, gay rights are excluded from law and social work curricula, programs in Black Studies, Women's Studies, and Labor Studies are eliminated, etc.).

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