Point Five

Point Five: The Panthers Revolutionary Approach to Education

From #BPP50 Dispatch

We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society. We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.

BPP’s 1966 10 Point Platform and Program, What We Want, What We Believe

ocs-panel-robyn-spencer-oct-20-2016-editedOCS Conference Panel #BPP50

The Panthers implemented greater than 50 successful community programs all around the country. Some are still functioning, albeit under different guises and even in places outside of the US. [See Leaders of Tomorrow] The Oakland Community School (OCS) is particularly near and dear to our heart at IPHP.  [See IPHP Film Projects] IPHP was on the ground and attended the OCS panel at #BPP50 that included an in-depth discussion of the OCS’s history, legacy, and impact on the community then, various educational deficiencies the school addressed, alternative models of education, and the things people can learn from the OCS to impact education today.

Panelists talked about the OCS as a model for Oakland public schools and many audience members testified about the long ranging impact that the school had on their lives. They used the phrase “self-determination” often and it reverberated from the audience. The OCS modeled self-determination in multiple ways. For example, they taught their students how to think not what to think. They also practiced meditation and yoga with youth at the school. There remains an overwhelming need for Point 5 today as many students are faced with the school-to prison pipeline, education inequalities, segregation, and high suspensions and expulsions, as well as various forms of institutionalized violence.

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