I wrote the previous comment, as I have many others, to try to get to a discussion I know to be essential, that of the role of the educational system and those who work or worked in it in the societal failure that led to Trump and will lead to further Trumpian behavior in American society, behavior that threatens the possibility of there ever being a sane and humane American democracy. Yes, education and educators have to take some, a good amount, of responsibility for what is so badly wrong with out society. The American educational system has taught for acceptance, celebration of a way of life that has allowed for high levels of inhumanity and stupidity that a decently educated citizenry would never have allowed.I ask for comment, for harsh critique.
I remember starting my career as a university professor with an eye to two futures, one I badly wanted to help become reality, the other one I wanted badly to prevent. Things started off rather badly and did not end so well. Resistance to the progressive notions I had learned from true progressive educators were not readily accepted because they meant that ways of teaching that earned so many merit were likely not good ways. Teachers should not act as fountains of wisdom, the new paradigm argued, because they were really no wiser than their students because the knowledge they held was possibly, even likely, to be flawed, this no fault as long as students were taught how to and had the opportunity to assess the value of that knowledge. My wisdom, too often, before it was tested, was rejected, this, too often, not because sound analysis found it to be wrong but because just to think about it caused discomfort.
Ask this question of your state funded Colleges of Education: If professors’ evaluations are based on publishing in learned journals and winning grants to fund research, what percentage of their time is left to dedicate to meaningful work to improve the quality of education at our local schools. With thirty-plus years of experience with the local college and the school district, I have seen little interaction between the two to actually improve the district, one consistently failing to provide all students with a hight quality education. Is COE emphasis on research and grants good for the state of education?
What does intense work in the schools without grants or eye on research papers earn a professor?
TEACHERS!!!!Ask your supervisors, administrators, and teachers associations if they will defend you if you defiantly teach truth. If not, new organization is essential to the future of education for a sane and humane democracy.
On the sentencing of the police officer who murdered George Floyd:As with all “incidents” that are “resolved” after demonstrations of outrage, there will be a hard push in the media and by politicians to say that all this is a sign that the system works, that justice is the USUAL outcome. This is the kind of lie that the historical “revision” that movements like the CRT movement work to point out and what is ever so interesting is the outrage produced by efforts to advertise the truth. This many was not convicted by the system willingly. It had to be forced to act and it acted by addressing the real issues at hand in such a way as to pay the least for the damage done, a sacrificed one of the system’s best with a prison sentence without any kind of systematic change to remove all officers with such tendencies from policing the society. A viable policing would put in jail those who shape the system to discriminate against large numbers of citizens.
The capability of the banking system to minimize or annul the students’ creative powers and to stimulate their credulity serves the interests of the oppressors, who care neither to have the world revealed nor see it transformed. The oppressors use their “humanitarianism” to preserve a profitable situation. Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (p. 73)
From soon to be published book:Freire tell us that those who benefit most by the oppression of others, react almost instinctively against any experiment in education which stimulates the critical facilities and is not content with a partial view of reality but always seeks out the ties which link one point to another and one problem to another.He says of education provided by oppressors that it represents “false charity” in which, oppressors use their ‘humanitarianism’ to preserve a profitable situation. Thus they react almost instinctively against any experiment in education which stimulates the critical faculties and is not content with a partial view of reality but always seeks out ties which link one point to another and one problem to another…Indeed, the interests of the oppressors lie in “changing the conscious of the oppressed, but not the situation that oppresses them.” (citing Simone de Beauvoir, La Pens’ee de Droite, Aujord’hui). P.74
Resistance to progressive education and the dominance of curricula and methodologies that situate learning in obedience to authority rather than in independent critical thought serve an important purpose in a society where democracy somehow produces vast inequalities in regard to wealth and political power.
A narrow conception of education in America, one without understanding of its traditional purposes, will lead to continuous replication of a system that has served democracy poorly and capitalists too well. Schools have alway served privilege rather then promote the welfare of the whole, the curriculum controlled by those with political power bought with wealth often acquired through exploitation of the many.There may be common reason for dissatisfaction, these to be found in the ideology that shapes American schools, one that promotes America as great by hiding what is not great about a society with massive inequalities and good numbers of poor and relatively poor in a very wealthy nation.
To be critical of the democratic party is the same as helping republicans. To be critical of Israel is not to be antisemetic. To be critical of the American education is not to side with the right-wing anti-public education folk. To disagree with certain politicians of color is not racist. To not be supportive of a democratic female politician is not sexist.Yet I have been the recipient of all of these criticisms. The democratic party continually works to prevent progressive candidates from nomination and, if nominated, only half heartedly supports them.Israel is a colonial power that acts as colonial powers act, out of fear of those whose land they occupy.American education is a problem because it has not and does not teach for the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that would make possible a sane and humane society. It teaches to justify a predatory capitalism which is without justification.There are politicians of color who fight progressive initiatives, one in particular who insured that a right of center candidate be nominated for the presidency instead of a sensible progressive.I support a number of female politicians, my favorite politicians now being female. I abhor female politicians and their supporters who accuse those who oppose them of sexism.