Education Justice Communications Project – True Frames

True Frames was a project of Spirit in Action developed to support grassroots education advocates and communicators to develop a more powerful narrative about the future of public education.

True Frames was created to be a 10-part YouTube series. It was the continuation of the years of work by Spirit in Action in the education justice field, listening and talking to leading educational advocates, movement leaders and folks on the ground (click here to listen to them talk about education justice).

What had been realized was that there were a number of key issues to be addressed by education advocates and organizations in order to develop a shared narrative that supports public understanding and advances a transformative agenda while keeping a commitment to public education. Simply put, we often want the same things but get bogged down in debates and language that separates rather than unifies us.

The goal of each planned episode of True Frames was to encourage dialogue to resolve points of tension in the current education debate. The hope was that the series as a whole would move the conversation about public education in a way that strengthens our language and common stance in advocating for change.

Ten episodes were identified to spark engagement and discussion. (We used the term “frames” to describe the common language that can help us advocate for what we want.)  These frames were developed to help us come together with individuals with whom we might differ ideologically, but could unify us from a place of shared values. Due to lack of funding, only the first two episodes were completed in this short lived project:

  • Relevant to Life – Examines the purpose of the education we need and how schools have acted as both liberator and assimilator.  It calls on us to advance a positive agenda, based on what we want now. (See the video here.)
  • End Profiteering – Links corporatization with charters, vouchers, and online schools. It shows that the term “profiteering” is a better frame for alliance building with charter schools that are acting in the public interest and makes room for good corporate actors as potential supporters. (See the video here.)

The next eight episodes were planned to be:

  • Reclaiming and Reimagining Teaching and Learning in America – Tells the story of investments in the development of teacher-leaders and commitments within systems and communities and compare it against Teaching for America.
  • The End of High Stakes and Standardization – This episode breaks down national policy and narrative from “A Nation at Risk” forward and why it hasn’t worked.
  • Creating a Social Contract – Articulates a vision for the future of public education and what it means.
  • The Right-sized Role of the Federal Government in Public Education – Breaks down the history of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and makes visible the role of systems and government in daily life – what it has been and what it could be.
  • Agency and Equity – Advances a story of personalized and “deeper learning” that also attends to what communities need, collective efforts and culturally responsive instruction. This episode addresses demographic and technological shifts.
  • Democratic Governance, Responsiveness and Accountability – Advances the need for community-owned and community-accountable solutions.
  • Powerful Learning Conditions for Each and Every Teacher and Child – Changes in technology, understanding of neuroscience, cultural shifts, and teacher-led developments in student engagement are changing how and what needs to be learned and where.
  • The New Purpose of Education is to Thrive – Communities, teachers, and students need conditions to support growth and learning.