Schoolkids aren’t conscripts in your ideological army!

12 09 2007

New evidence that real “education” for young people isn’t necessarily what keeps their elders feeling self-righteous, fully employed and in control of the culture. . .

“Teacher Education With an Attitude:
Preparing Teachers to Educate Working-Class Students in Their Collective Self-Interest”

reviewed by Rosetta Cohen — August 27, 2007
Teachers College Record
ID Number: 14592

Open access to Columbia Teachers College articles is fleeting so read it now if you can. It sounds to me as if the book and its sympathetic reviewer equate class warfare, collectivist politics and “social justice” activism, with the public schools we all support by law:

The old saw that all one needs to be a good teacher is a good grounding in one of the arts or sciences continues to be floated . . .[but] left-leaning critics want more teacher preparation in areas like cultural studies, social theory, multiculturalism, anti-racism and social class.
. . .Taken together, the Finns’ book provides a persuasive argument for integrating a social justice orientation into teacher education, at every stage of a teacher’s career. . . . one is constantly reminded that the work of teaching is the work of cultural transformation and social reform—a truth that can get lost under the pressures of high stakes testing, budget cuts, and other ubiquitous assaults on this most valuable profession.

Gee, could the assaults be ubiquitous because this definition of teaching keeps causing conflict? Maybe the public has a very different “truth” about the “work of teaching” that we support as valuable, maybe something like educating kids academically to think for themselves rather than indoctrinating them into some social reform movement on our dime? And don’t I remember something about public school “transmitting” the culture rather than “transforming” it, and some truth about how the citizens operate schools and direct the “work of teachers” rather than the other way around?

I see this self-righteous (and imo illiberal) view of the next generation as a ready-made constituency of malleable conscripts into some ideological army as not much different than Generation Joshua and Jesus Camp, except that the public isn’t forced by the State to support what goes on in THOSE indoctrination camps. . .

So hmmm, maybe we need to just accept that and put these on even footing. And then figure out some other ways to actually educate all the curious kids, who want to learn to think for themselves without forced-choice answers set in stone before their time — hey, how about newspapers and libraries and colleges and the Internet, no collectivist intercessionaries need apply?