National Tour and Virtual Conference

Affirming the Right to Education in the 21st Century:

Speaking for Ourselves

Tour – July 6 to August 22      

Virtual Conference – August 28 and 29, 2021

Education is a Right Podcast is organizing a national tour and conference to bring together those across the country who are working to affirm the right to education in the 21st century. 

Who we are

We started our podcast Education is a Right to give voice to teachers, education workers, students, parents and all those concerned about affirming the right to education across the country. We wanted to inform ourselves about the state of education and those who provide it in Canada and provide a forum for all of us together to work out what kind of an education system we need to affirm the right to education in today’s conditions.

Affirming the right to education in the 21st century

This pandemic has shown the limits of the 20th century conception of education as a right in which this simply means the right to enroll in elementary or secondary education. The youth, though having the right to enrol, do not have their right to the proper conditions they require to learn safely in body and mind guaranteed. This has been the case for some time, with conditions worsening year by year as neo-liberal governments turn education into a venue for profiteering; however the pandemic has made it even more clear. 

This pandemic has shown that the right to education has to mean more than just the right to enrol. It has to mean the right to a truly modern, high-quality and democratic education system up to the highest standard this society can provide for all irrespective of any consideration. This can be achieved when people have a real say over the direction of the economy and its social programs, so that it is organized to serve the people rather than private interests.

Why we are calling this conference and tour

During this pandemic we have seen in our interviews and in our own work that educators, students and parents across the country are taking up their social responsibility to try and ensure their own safety and of their collectives. It has been very inspiring.

We have done this in the face of governments that refuse to listen to, or even recognize, the demands, concerns and proposals of the people to address objective problems that the pandemic has given rise to. Those who deliver education are often the last to know what the government is going to do despite the fact that they are expected to implement these decisions knowing full well that they will not work. Educators have put forward numerous proposals which could make conditions safer but these are simply rebuked as too costly or simply ignored all together. 

In spite of this situation, where educators with parents and students alongside administrators have taken charge of their schools they have been able to work together to find solutions and address problems as they arise. Clearly we are capable of running our schools and identifying what we need to run an education system from other parts of the economy; however we are treated as subjects by governments instead of partners with a right to a say over our working conditions, which are our students’ learning conditions. The youth especially are reduced to passive observers by governments who claim to do things in their name and for their best interests, but refuse to listen when the youth make demands or proposals or speak up for themselves. In some cases when students do speak up, they are just called union pawns or radicals instead of given an actual say in the decisions that affect their lives.  

We are calling this conference because we do not accept the position we have been relegated to as observers or sideline critics.

Let’s empower ourselves now!

We are calling this conference to establish our own “new normals” in the midst of this-pandemic, which empower us as educators, students and parents and which affirm the right to education in the 21st century. We invite everyone who wants to participate in discussing how we can empower ourselves to do this to attend. The agenda for the conference will be developed during a national tour, which will precede it to meet those who want to attend and discuss what people want to see addressed. At least one panel will address how to empower ourselves in provincial elections starting with Ontario where elections will take place in June of 2022 followed by those in Quebec in October of 2022.

Join in!

We invite you to join in the organizing for this conference so that you can put your mark on it. Register today and let us know if you would like us to come and visit you, regulations permitting, this summer during the national tour!

All out to affirm the right to education in the 21st century!!

To register, complete this Registration Form

Contact the organizing committee at contact@edisaright.ca or call 519-991-5516

Episode 100: Learning from experiences challenging institutional racism in Canadian educational institutions