Michael Apple Expert on “Black” Homeschooling Now??

7 03 2007

Oh dear, first Barack Obama goes all Generation Joshua on us, and now this. It’s enough to leave Thinking Parents not knowing WHAT to think –or what anyone else thinks! — anymore.
Black or not.

Home education advocates from NHEN trained at rarefied rhetorical heights to match wits with homeschool political critics Drs. Rob Reich and Michael Apple. If you weren’t there, read all about it here; it remains some of the best thinking ever imo, on the constitutional underpinnings of home and family freedoms as they relate specifically to home education.

After all this time, I was startled to see Dr. Apple pop up from his undisclosed subterranean battlehole, where he seems endlessly to plot “scholarly” strategies to defend public (government-controlled) schooling by discrediting and destroying everything else that might show it up as true-blue American education. Now he has apparently sold his work to the well-respected and widely referenced Columbia Teachers College Record online, as someone qualified to be scholarly about homeschooling.

“Black” homeschooling in this case, which in his view has more community cache and constitutional validity than regular homeschooling? That ought to set color-blind civil rights back a piece — oh dear, MisEducation may have to come out of retirement after this week of Constitutional unease . . .

TCR doesn’t keep its articles open for review very long so I am posting it whole here, specifically for analysis and discussion, for the “education” of younger Thinking Parents about what lies behind these insidious expert objections to home education, and kindred alternatives of various kinds. What all the suspect alternatives have in common is one thing only – they threaten the pet political tool of the Dr. Apples of the world.

So without further ado:

The Complexities of Black Home Schooling
by Michael W. Apple — December 21, 2006

There is now a (slowly) growing home schooling movement among traditionally oppressed groups—such as African Americans. Thus, unlike all too many white conservative evangelicals who arrogantly claim that they are the new oppressed—something that I believe does not stand up to serious scrutiny—a number of black parents are also rejecting public and even religious schools in favor of educating their children at home.

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Giving Grannies the Magic Finger

7 03 2007

Rants and spin about other folks’ lies, truths, fists and noses are more than ever in the news.

Individual grannies and cab drivers for example — to avoid fingering homeschoolers AGAIN! — can get plenty pushy with their unsolicited counsel in any enclosed space, a real pain in the neck and back. Formed into tight knots of special interest to pressure us with their unions and associations like the Teamsters and the AARP, they become not merely personal pains but fearsome public pains pressuring the body politic.

“Shiatsu” massage literally means “finger” and “pressure.” I think this matters somehow — that we need to finger anyone pressuring us, that finger-massaging issues increases healthful bloodflow to the affected area, perhaps that massage is both hard and soft science, something that is both healthy and fun, feels good and is good for us?

But I hate to be pressured and I believe everything IS a matter of degree, including the minute difference between what’s healthy and what hurts us all.

To take and keep responsibility for my own (health, family, thinking, speech, choices, investments, behavior) and likewise respect without constant rancor the right of others to do the same, it’s not enough to ignore or brush externally inflicted pains off, and it’s too much to pound them until we all hurt worse, so what to do?

In mostly roundabout ways that’s what I blog about at Culture Kitchen, in developed essays like this and this, but also in off-the-cuff commentary like this:

Liza wrote something beautiful for last New Year which you may want to read in full before trying to make sense of this comment from that blog encounter:

McLuhan was a master of aphorisms, and like Heidegger, he loved wordplay. The title of his best-selling book The Medium is the Massage is no exception. Maybe he was making a statement about the way that the media massage or pummel us, or perhaps he was making a pun on the new “mass-age.”

Pausing here in wordplay to note that Liza’s epiphany came doing yoga, not getting a massage, yet it’s intellectually appealing to reframe yoga as self-massage, i.e. using your own body and mind to create your own healthy stimulation and heightened state of wellness, rather than just being serviced prone and passive, with all the energy generated from the outside force acting upon you.

Maybe then, the political noise machine is electronic message massage akin to the tacky Magic Fingers of a motel bed? — and our collective challenge is what to do about all the folks feeding it quarters in the cheesy dark, satisfied to lie around expecting the next media buzz to friction up some externally created (but better-than-total-atrophy?) circulation in their sluggish bodies and minds.

Hardly equivalent either in terms of potential health creation or detrimental side effects, though don’t we all know Thoughtless Idiots who’d define the central mechanism as the same for both, and declare themselves done for the day?

Which is why I argue the political noise machine is actually an overlooked form of public education and imperils us all, schooling or not, but I digress . . .

More on McLuhan–

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Listening to PEOPLE, Not Party Politics?

7 03 2007

Republican Charlie Crist replaced Gov. Jeb Bush and gave his first annual State of the State address to open the Florida Legislature yesterday. He supports embryonic stem cell research and defined civil rights not in religious terms, but simply as “doing what is right.”

(More soon about his proposed “Children’s Cabinet” – but this cooperative common good speech deserves meta-thought apart from the specifics. Is it a sign of things to come and if so, could they really be good things for us all? 🙂

St. Pete Times
Published March 7, 2007

TALLAHASSEE – Seeking to capitalize on a can-do spirit, Gov. Charlie Crist used his first State of the State speech Tuesday to frame a centrist agenda and told legislators not to squander “this gift of public service.” . . .

“Isn’t it wonderful to have a governor saying Democratic things?” said Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat. . .

Crist campaigned as a nonideological candidate who emphasized helping people. On Tuesday, the 50-year-old Republican governor gave a speech that could have been made by a Democrat.

Crist endorsed bonus pay for outstanding teachers, smaller class sizes, a reduction in greenhouse gases and paper trails in elections. He defined civil rights as “doing what is right,” and he closed by paraphrasing a liberal icon, the late Robert F. Kennedy.

“You could almost see Al Gore give that speech, but Al Gore would not be that passionate,” said Bob Butterworth, Crist’s child welfare secretary and a Democrat.

With little to criticize, Democratic lawmakers found themselves in the unaccustomed role of praising a Republican governor – something they never did when Jeb Bush was in office.

“There’s not much to argue with,” said Rep. Dan Gelber, of Miami Beach, the House minority leader.

Republican Sen. Jim King of Jacksonville said some in his party would dislike the tone of Crist’s speech, but added: “Not every good idea that’s come down the pike has come from a Republican. What he said today is pretty much where Floridians are.”

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