The following was drafted by the PSSC Organizing Committee, as a handbook to establish shared principles of conduct, collective objectives, and project infrastructure. In the spirit of this project, we ask that you please help us revise the document. The handbook should reflect our commitment to building this project together.
What is the Santa Cruz Public School?
The Public School is free education. Community-supported and learner-directed, the Public School is open to anyone. Our school takes an educational model of autonomously organized classes, workshops, events, and working groups, while providing a point of connection and interaction between ongoing projects.
In an era of increasingly privatized education, free education is a radical endeavor. Our conception of free education is an alternative to market-driven institutions of education. We exist without tuition, fees, or rent. Not only are we motivated by a vision of education unhinged from the logic of profit, but from the forms of hierarchy and oppression that accompany this logic.
While we do not collectively subscribe to any particular ideology, our school is committed to the shared project of creating social spaces resistant to racism, sexism, classism, queer/transphobia, ableism, and other forms of oppression. Our curriculum reflects this struggle to re-imagine education, resistant to capitalist power relations. We understand free education as the basis for many different approaches to creative and critical inquiry. We approach knowledge as an everyday practice, and we are committed to collectivizing our pursuit of knowledge in all aspects of life.
PSSC is not accredited – it does not give out degrees, and it has no affiliation with any privatized or state sponsored public school system. It is a way to take education into our own hands.
What is TPS?
As stated on thepublicschool.org, TPS is “a framework that supports autodidactic activities, operating under the assumption that everything is in everything.” TPS started in 2007 in Los Angeles, and offered a digital space through which to organize the project on an international scale. Soon there were TPS outposts around the world holding a variety of classes in miscellaneous spaces and gathering people to learn together outside of official educational institutions through thepublicschool.org.
We consider the ‘public school’ to be a multivarious model that can be adapted in many places. While connected to this larger virtual project, each outpost of TPS should be primarily focused on creating an intellectual community outside of local institutional power structures. In different places, this project cultivates communities of learning, and helps us to imagine everyday life as the site of knowledge that can be repurposed and shared from the profit-driven logics of institutional life under capitalism.
We want to help each other survive and ultimately change the living conditions of capitalism.
We want to study, learn, and produce knowledge together for the mutual benefit of a community.
We want free education: free of charge, but also radically open, experimental, and anti-hierarchical.
We honor the experiences and prioritize the needs of marginalized and oppressed people.
We agree to be in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable.
We are committed to facilitating a safe environment for all.
Unacceptable behaviors include: intimidating, harassing, or otherwise engaging in abuse through discriminatory, derogatory and demeaning speech or actions by any participant in our community online and at all related events, including one-on-one communications carried out in the context of PSSC. Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. If someone engages in unacceptable behavior, anyone should feel empowered to take action to address the situation openly with the group with an expectation of committed community support reflecting these principles.
On the organizing committee
The organizing committee consists of 4 members on a rotation. Committee members are responsible for approving curriculum and events proposals, and for responding to any inquiries. Members will be contact persons for facilitators and participants. Committee rotation ensures that the project will remain collective in its organization.
How to find a class
Classes will be announced on the publicschool.org website, as well as an email newsletter.
Make a proposal
Anyone can make a proposal. If you don’t want to facilitate your proposal, the organizing committee will help you find a facilitator. The organizing committee meets at least once a month to discuss curriculum and event proposals for PSSC. Proposals should reflect the shared principles of the PSSC.