Thinking about 30 years of learning, building, and connecting
I recently wrote on our Annual Appeal postcard, “In 2022 Local Learning matters more than ever.” I recognize that this is a bold statement as we enter the 30th year of Local Learning advocating for the inclusion of arts and knowledge from our cultural tradition bearers in our nation’s education. Perhaps this is a good sound bite, but what does it mean for us to ask you to support our mission and work today?
PEN America released a report this fall noting an increase in educational gag orders of 250 percent over 2021. They found these increasingly punitive bills targeted teaching, for example, about race and LGTBQ+ identities, affecting higher ed as well as K-12 education. As folklorists, teachers, artists, and culture workers, the Local Learning network offers one antidote to this censorship. Using inquiry grounded in the methods of ethnography, Local Learning resources offer students agency to engage and document narratives that matter to them. Partnering with artists and tradition bearers, Local Learning residencies mean that students see elders and community knowledge that reflect their unique communities. And with professional development and activities for teaching with primary sources, Local Learning provides access to narratives and counternarratives that may not be in a textbook, alongside tools for critical analysis to see and hear multiple perspectives. Understanding ourselves and our cultural communities contributes to our growth as learners, educators, and artists.
Since 1993 Local Learning has offered a cultural lens for complex subjects. I invite you to show your support by donating $30 to kick off our 30th year. Today, I do believe that Local Learning matters more than ever. I’m so grateful for all of you who are a part of this vibrant network as we continue learning, building and connecting. Donate here.