Saturday, October 18, 2008

Little Red Schoolhouse: Teacher Education at SIU; Or, Why Bill Ayers Would Love this Place

"Capitalist hegemony," "white privilege," "teaching for social justice," "critical pedagogy," "liberation," "oppression studies," and classroom "resistance" (students who refuse to buy into all of the above).

What do these buzz words have to do with Bill Ayers? He is part of the movement for "revolutionary" education--and his work, and that of like-minded activists, is assigned in required "School and Society" courses at SIU and other colleges.

I first encountered the unbalanced, far-Left reading some years ago. SIU required education majors to read the Mao and Castro-worshipping Pedagogy of the Oppressed, a "classic manifesto" that has sold nearly one million copies. (For a description of the pedagogy, click here). I was stunned at the time warp: surely, Education Schools are not offering warmed-over sixties radicalism as the only source on "School and Society?" There is nothing wrong with assigning works from a Marxist or "critical pedagogy" perspective but that was all that was offered in a class that future teachers must take. When I searched other schools, I found much the same thing. Apparently, "queering" the curriculum, assaulting capitalism, and denouncing "color-blind racism" is de rigueur.

Flash forward to 2008. The name of Bill Ayers is in the air. Former member of Weather Underground and still committed to revolution--through the education schools. Read his blog: http://billayers.wordpress.com/

The troubling thing about Bill Ayers isn't his connection with Barack Obama (I'll leave that up to readers) but the fact that his approach to education is the only thing taught in many "school and society" courses. Check the reading list at SIU and elsewhere. There may be exceptions but judging from Amazon.com and course assignments, "teaching for social justice" is rampant.

It got so bad that FIRE and NAS had to successfully fight accreditation requirements that future teachers have the right "dispositions" (see here and here). I suspect we haven't heard the last of this indoctrination requirement.

Balance, not bias, is the issue. We are all "biased" which is why the curriculum ought to include opposing viewpoints, particularly in courses required to enter a profession. The notion that the classroom is a play tool for revolutionaries, Left or Right, is pernicious and disrespectful of the individual dignity of students.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is why I homeschooled the kids.

Anonymous said...

Me too! Years ago we checked out a Catholic private school for our children. The first thing they said during orientation was "all of our teachers are graduates of Education Schools" (mostly SIU) and state-certified. Ouch. I thought, "that's not good. When do we get to the good part?"

Figure on more government challenges to home schooling under the new administration. After all, why should "uncertified" parents take away the right of the government to "properly" educate our children.

PS: I am a refugee from an education school, saw what it meant, and sought to do something more productive with my life.....

Going to the Dawgs said...

Isn't Poshard a graduate of SIU education school?

And Goldman was a dean of one of the SIU education colleges?

Hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

As a product of the SIU school of education, (undergraduate and graduate) I can fully attest to the radical elements of teacher education.

i-History did an excellent job of “enlightening” us with the Paulo Freire’s pedagogy. Unfortunately, I have had to read his "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" twice. (Undergraduate & Graduate) To this day, I am still baffled as to why anyone takes this “manifesto” seriously. Freire rails against the traditional methods of instruction by stating that it merely serves the interests of the oppressors. I encourage everyone to click on the link that i-History provided that sums up Freire’s pedagogy. It is nothing short of radicalism, and unfortunately required reading for students in colleges of education throughout this nation.

The students in our public schools will be facing fierce competition in this world economy. Students from India and China are currently engaged in a rigorous curriculum of the core subjects while our students are being taught about the oppressive whitey, the beauty of queer love, and social justice. The pushers of this radical curriculum (Ayers, as well as our schools of education) should be ashamed of themselves for setting our students up for failure. The fact that they look at our schools as some social experiment…an opportunity to brainwash young boys and girls with their warped, perverse pedagogy is disgusting, unfair to the students, and undercuts (possibly treasonous?) our country's future.