The First Annual
Vermont Progressive Educators and Activists Summit

Renewing the Democratic Aims of Education

in recognition of Vermont native, John Dewey’s birthday and the efforts of educators and learners across the state to enliven the democracy through education and learning.

Friday, October 19, 2001
Lafayette Building, University of Vermont
Burlington, VT
Workshops 2:30-4:30
Keynote Speaker 6:30 Lafayette Room 207

William Watkins

“Reconstructing Society:
Toward Education for Equality and Social Justice”

Saturday, October 20, 2001
Vermont Technical College
Randolph, VT

Join 80 to 120 Vermont educators, policy makers, parents, students and activists and invited out-of-state guests for one and a half days of dialogue and creative expression around renewing the democratic aims of education.

Registration requested. Click here to register.

Keynote address by William Watkins

"Reconstructing Society:
Toward Education for Equality and Social Justice"

William "Bill" Watkins was born in Harlem, New York and reared in South-central Los Angeles. Bill has been a factory worker, high school teacher and currently serves as Associate Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Holding degrees in Political Science , Education and Public Policy Analysis, Bill has committed his life to the study and practice of social change. Bill is the author of over 30 articles, co-editor of the book Race and Education (2001) and author of The White Architects of Black Education (2001).
Summit goals:
  • To provide opportunities for progressive educators and activists to build sustainable relationships
  • To build a progressive educator and activist network
  • To provide educators and activists an opportunity to envision possible points of collaboratio
The summit will be guided by the principles of:
  • active democratic citizenship and participatory democracy
  • free speech and constructive dialogue
  • tolerance, mutual respect and radical pluralism
  • equity and social justice
  • sustainable communities
  • recognizing differences and celebrating diversity
  • interdisciplinary thinking
  • expansion of democratic values and rights into the workplace
    Summit format:

    “Education is what happens to the other person, not what comes out of the mouth of the educator.  You have to posit trust in the learner… If you believe in democracy, which I do, you have to believe that people have the capacity within themselves to develop the ability to govern themselves.  You’ve got to believe in that potential, and to work as if it were true in the situation.”  Miles Horton, Founder Highlander Folk School

    Following in the tradition of the Highlander Folk School, a “learning circle” format will be utilized throughout this summit.  Learning circles draw upon the indigenous expertise, stories and interests of the group to set the tone and guide the directions of the conversation.  Trained facilitators will guide these learning circles, focusing the conversations on such guiding questions as:

  • Should we create an active network of progressive educators and activists?
  • How can we better link educators with activists?
  • How can we break out of our standard thinking around what is possible within our schools?
  • Where are the possible “open doors” that hold the key to linking our schools to our communities?
  • What risks are progressive educators taking to educate students for active, democratic citizenship?
Summit Agenda:
Friday, October 19
Lafayette Building, University of Vermont, 
Burlington, Vermont

2:30 - 4:30 pmLafayette Rooms 102, 111, and 300.

Workshops highlighting current projects in Vermont that are addressing issues of social justice:

  • Youth Engaging Society Y.E.S.!!: Women’s Prison Project
  • Teachers Unions and Social Change
  • Cross Cultural Communication for Global Citizenship
  • Democratic Education and the Testing Culture
  • Queer Youth in Vermont School
  • The Who, What, and Why of Media Literacy

Click here for workshop description.

6:30 pm Lafayette Room 207

Keynote speaker:

William Watkins

"Reconstructing Society:
Toward Education for Equality and Social Justice"

    Summit Agenda:
    Saturday, October 20
    Vermont Technical College
    Randolph, Vermont

    9 am  Morning Town Meeting
      Panel discussion
      Small group discussion (groups of 3)
      Mural creation

    10:30 am Break

    10:45 am Learning Circle—Session One
      Surfacing dilemmas

    12:30 pm Networking Lunch—Meet with people from your geographic region; exchange phone numbers, brainstorm ways of collaborating
    (Cafeteria Lunch will be Provided with Vegetarian Options)

    1:30 pm Learning Circle—Session Two
    Topical discussions, concluding with the question: “How might a network aid in addressing this dilemma?” 

    3:15 pm Break

    3:30 pm Closing Town Meeting
      Report outs
      Open mic
    Mural work/ other forms of creative expression

    5:00 pm Adjourn