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How community-centered, peer-to-peer, youth knowledge exchanges are
evolving into a strong economic and political foundation on which to
build radical public education.
Following in the
rich traditions in African American cooperative economic and
educational thought, teacher-organizer Jay Gillen describes the
Baltimore Algebra Project (BAP) as a youth-run cooperative enterprise
in which young people direct their peers' and their own learning for
a wage. BAP and similar enterprises are creating an educational
network of empowered, employed students.
Gillen argues that
this is a proactive political, economic, and educational structure
that builds relationships among and between students and their
communities. It's a structure that meets communal needs--material and
social, economic and political--both now and in the future. Through
the story of the Baltimore Algebra Project, readers will learn why
youth employment is a priority, how to develop democratic norms and
cultures, how to foster positive community roles for 20-30 year-olds,
and how to implement educational accountability from below.