Published Aug 04, 2014Last week, we learned that rock icons like Kim Gordon, Cat Power and Yoko Ono were teaming up to help launch the online School of Doodle, a web-based learning program aimed at teenage girls. Today, Cat Power's Chan Marshall has shared an open letter expressing her support for the project.
School of Doodle is described as "a peer-to-peer, self-directed learning lab dedicated to activating girls' imaginations through entertainment, education and community." The project has been designed as a direct response to arts funding being cut from schools, with the goal being to "empower the next generation of LOUD WOMEN."
Chan Marshall has signed on to be a teacher at the school (as have Kim Gordon and Le Tigre's J.D. Samson). Through NME, she voiced her support for the project with the following lengthy statement:
School Of Doodle is an online community created to empower teenage girls as young leaders, future mothers and future women thinkers. The state of society's infrastructure and public education affect us all, particularly our children, and this online college exists as an attempt to counteract that.
During my teenage years, I attended 10 public schools in three southern states of America and experienced, first hand, this country's low income "caste" segregation, through country and city zoning excluding less-privileged children from better schools. Higher income neighbourhoods seemed to have much more of everything than rural, low-income neighbourhood schools. Some faculties were stellar heroes but many of our teachers were football coaches teaching science or biology. Across the board that creates mismanagement of curriculum and, therefore, generations of uneducated pupils. I wanted to get involved in School Of Doodle to help our youth truly learn and truly engage in the freedoms we as Americans see become more and more marginalised. Also, I truly appreciate DIY and grassroots attempts to infiltrate society's norms. I don't care what I have to do to help out; I'll do whatever I can.
All children need an antidote to how criminal the American system has become. A young girl in the south to this day is faced with a high concentration of bible-belt ethics and post-war domestic roles of women and those teenage girls need a branch of protective exploration, so they can become strengthened in themselves and their bodies, as powerful women. Personally, I had very few examples of this growing up and I still observe it in the modern day. Of course it is also important to incorporate a co-ed tutorial for boys at School Of Doodle.
Society is failing teenage girls by not encouraging their rights or respect of their body, minds and intellect, and most importantly, the rights to their own voices. This is a missing link to achieve universal knowledge within education in society as a whole. I feel teens can truly gain community, internationally, through something as inspiring as School of Doodle. It will help them learn to articulate their common goals and become strong individuals as well as informed, responsible adults.
Is this a political act? All things that reach outside of the norms of society are always projected negatively, half-glassed, 'wacky', separatist or anti-establishment, conjuring the topical 'political' stance. But only until the norms of education begin articulating themselves into a fuller, more honest, open, respectful and diverse forum, then the idea of the 'anti' will become invalid. The norm needs a shift and School Of Doodle is a good first step.
School of Doodle is currently seeking funds through Kickstarter. More information on the project is available in the pitch video below.