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Knowledge Isn’t Power — “Power is Power”

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I’ve been watching “Game of Thrones” on DVD, and just saw this great scene that teaches an important lesson about making change:

Knowledge is not power — “Power is power.”

During my nineteen year community organizing career, we learned and taught that knowledge isn’t power — there are lots of people out there with great ideas for how things should be done, but will never have much of an impact because they don’t understand that power to make community/institutional/systemic change requires one of two things — either organized people or organized money, and that organized people can beat organized money. You can certainly use knowledge in the process of developing the necessary relationships to build up that organized people base, but it is not an effective tool to make change by itself.

I’ve developed what I think is a pretty effective lesson to help students recognize this reality that you can find in one of my books, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work.

And I’ve written more on this topic at The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change.

The reality for us teachers is that if we want to combat the often destructive actions done in the name of “school reform,” writing blog posts and articles are nice, connecting on social media is good, and going to conferences can be helpful. But we really only “have one dog on this hunt” that has the power we need, and that’s our union.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. Great post and for distinguishing the difference between knowledge and power. This is very applicable to policing. Thanks and I will share this if you do not mind.
    Scott

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