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When schools become dead zones of the imagination

  • Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • A critical pedagogy manifesto
  • Related: Today’s Students and Professors ‘Know Hardly Anything about Anything at All’
  • How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea

Henry A. Giroux, Philosophers for Change

https://philoforchange.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/ed6.jpg?w=720  If the right-wing billionaires and apostles of corporate power have their way, public schools will become “dead zones of the imagination,” reduced to anti-public spaces that wage an assault on critical thinking, civic literacy and historical memory.[1] Since the 1980s, schools have increasingly become testing hubs that de-skill teachers and disempower students. They have also been refigured as punishment centers where low-income and poor minority youth are harshly disciplined under zero tolerance policies in ways that often result in their being arrested and charged with crimes that, on the surface, are as trivial as the punishment is harsh. [2] Under casino capitalism’s push to privatize education, public schools have been closed in cities such as, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York to make way for charter schools. Teacher unions have been attacked, public employees denigrated and teachers reduced to technicians working under deplorable and mind-numbing conditions. [3]

Corporate school reform is not simply obsessed with measurements that degrade any viable understanding of the connection between schooling and educating critically engaged citizens. The reform movement is also determined to underfund and disinvest resources for public schooling so that public education can be completely divorced from any democratic notion of governance, teaching and learning. In the eyes of billionaire un-reformers and titans of finance such as Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, the Walton family and Michael Bloomberg, public schools should be transformed, when not privatized, into adjuncts of shopping centers and prisons. [4]

Henry A. Giroux holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department. His most recent books include: On Critical Pedagogy, Twilight of the Social, and Youth in Revolt. 

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Prof: Today’s Students and Professors ‘Know Hardly Anything about Anything at All’, Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout

  •  http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/blank_stare.jpgEsolen’s above lament is supported not only by similar laments from his fellow professors, but also by statistics that show only a minority of American students are proficient in reading and writing, and by the fact that billions of dollars each year are spent on remedial courses in college.  
  • Do you think that things can be turned around in the near future? Or are we destined to slip further into an educational dark age?
  • Related: School climate: Students are stuck in a dysfunctional system

 

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How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea, Diane Ravitch, Basic Books / AlterNet

  • The billionaire-backed privatization movement is stealthily advancing an undemocratic agenda, cloaked in deceptive rhetoric, that the public is not aware of and does not understand.
  • Related: When schools become dead zones of the imagination, Henry A. Giroux, Philosophers for Change