The #Idavox Report: Beth Foster and the Foster Woods Folks’ School

Welcome to the #Idavox Report!

It is Tuesday night at 8:00 PM EST, and that means it is time for the Idavox Report! This week, Daryle will be interviewing Beth Foster of the Foster Woods Folks’ School. Before he begins, though, Daryle would like to pay tribute to an amazing musician who he knew personally. Jack Terricloth was the lead singer of the cabaret-punk band The World/Inferno Friendship Society. When Daryle met him, he lived in New Brunswick and he was guitarist and vocalist of a band called Sticks and Stones. Daryle describes Jack as having been influential, larger than life, and a cool cat, and says that he will miss him.

The #Idavox Report is funded by your donations! If you want to contribute and also get something material out of it, check out One People’s Project Merch! There are hats, buttons, bumper stickers, and more. Plus, you get a free copy of the book 40 Ways to Fight Fascists by Spencer Sunshine with every purchase.

[The Idavox Report with Daryle Lamont Jenkins featuring Christian Perez, Beth Foster, and two of her fellow educators]

The Idavox Report Welcomes Beth Foster

Daryle cues a pre-recorded interview featuring Christian Perez, Beth Foster, and a panel of educators named Ben and Will. Beth is our first repeat guest on the Idavox Report. Beth is the founder of The Foster Woods Folks’ School, where Ben and Will teach. She describes the school as a culmination of a lot of different projects into one cohesive organization. 

The Foster Woods Folks’ School headquarters is built on property, originally Shawnee land, that was bought by Beth’s grandfather. Although The Foster Woods Folks’ School has a physical location in Tennessee, it is a global school—most of their events are hosted online. They are a global school, with Beth reporting that only one of the enrolled students is actually from Tennessee.

The Foster Woods Folks’ School

The school focuses on education, storytelling, and the arts within an ecosocial justice framework. Beth defines ecosocial justice as a thriving planet that celebrates diversity and makes equity possible through policy. The Foster Woods Folks’ School imagines a world where all people can live in safety and dignity with fair and sustainable access to resources. They are antiracists and intersectional feminists who believe that non-human animals also have the right to safe, healthy lives, freedom, and access to resources fitting for their species.

The school features humane education for children and adults. There are four different schools, all with different classes designed for. Some of the courses include vegan cooking classes, People’s History, Social Studies, and English Language Arts. There are also programs such as Storyteller Studio, which is taught by Ben. Students range in age from 6 to 16 and come from all over the world. The school currently has students from four different continents enrolled in classes. Many of the students do not use English as their first language. Diversity is celebrated at The Foster Woods Folks’ School.

The Power of Education

Teachers at The Foster Woods Folks’ School such as Ben and Will try to center issues of justice and liberation in every lesson they teach. They are aware of how powerful education is. Public schools have warped the narrative of history to fit the oppressors of the world. The story of the hunt will be told from the perspective of the hunter. 

As Beth puts it, education is a tool of war. It can be used to crush a culture, or it can be used to liberate. Ben emphasizes how important it is that history is taught from the perspective of the people, from the bottom up. This means teaching about the working class instead of focusing on old dead white men. 

Moving Forward

This school is filling a need held by various communities. Most Tennessee schools, even public schools, teach curriculums with conservative leanings. Laws have recently been passed in several states, including Tennessee, that ban public schools from teaching about a range of topics, including certain aspects of Black history. The Foster Woods Folks’ School is a good choice for people who want their kids to learn history as it actually happened. 

The best way to learn more is at https://www.fosterwoods.org/, the school’s website. There, you can view information about what classes are being offered right now and enroll. Beth wants her education to be as accessible as possible. If a fee is a barrier to entry for a family who wants their child to learn at The Foster Woods Folks’ School, Beth will lower or waive it. 

We close out the show by screening several minutes of footage of a wonderful performance by the talented Jack Terricloth. Until next week, everyone, stay safe and stay informed!

-Leah Giannantonio, for the Revolution Radio Network 

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