.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Visit Freedom's Zone Donate To Project Valour

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Robert KC Johnson Under FIRE

For those who wonder what is wrong with the schools, the case of Robert KC Johnson might be illustrative. At the end of May he published an article which was critical of education schools rating students on their commitment to social justice as part of their academic criteria! Here is the article and here are a few examples:
At the State University of New York at Oneonta, prospective teachers must “provide evidence of their understanding of social justice in teaching activities, journals, and portfolios. . . and identify social action as the most advanced level.

The program at the University of Kansas expects students to be “more global than national and concerned with ideals such as world peace, social justice, respect for diversity and preservation of the environment.

The University of Vermont’s department envisions creating “a more humane and just society, free from oppression, that fosters respect for ethnic and cultural diversity.”

Marquette’s program “has a commitment to social justice in schools and society,” producing teachers who will use the classroom “to transcend the negative effects of the dominant culture.”
I want to make it clear that in many cases candidates for a degree which will qualify them as teachers are rated directly on these measures. Johnson helpfully provides this link to Brooklyn College's explanation of how this is to be done:
One: “Because democracy requires a substantive concern for equity, the faculty of the School of Education is committed, in theory and practice, to social justice . . . We believe that an education centered on social justice prepares the highest quality of future teachers . . . We recognize the challenges we face in preparing educators to be advocates for those on the margins of society . . . Given the historical roots of injustice, we are committed to helping practitioners see the vast possibilities of moving toward an equitable and just world knowing that ‘extreme inequalities in matters of race, gender and class often survive on the implicit understanding that there is no alternative’ . . . Our teacher candidates and other school personnel are prepared to demonstrate a knowledge of, language for, and the ability to create educational environments based on various theories of social justice.”

Two: Candidates “are assessed on the conceptual framework themes of diversity and social justice, themes that emphasizes the need for candidates to be knowledgeable about, sensitive to and responsive to issues of diversity and social justice as these influence curriculum and pedagogy, school culture, relationships with colleagues and members of the school community, and candidates’ analysis of student work and behavior.” A pilot of the school’s dispositions evaluation form with 159 initial candidates and 155 advanced candidates “showed that our initial candidates met or exceeded expectations on average with respect to at least 88% of the 8 dispositions, and advanced candidates met or exceeded expectations on at least 83% of the dispositions.”
Nor is this just lip service, because the administrative powers that be demand that candidates to be explicitly rated on these types of measures:
“Unit assessments must also reflect the dispositions identified in its conceptual framework and in professional and state standards. ... For example, if the unit has described its vision for teacher preparation as ‘Teachers as agents of change’ and has indicated that a commitment to social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some measure of a candidate’s commitment to social justice.”
Okay. For bringing this to light, Johnson got in trouble with Brooklyn College. FIRE intervened, and he is now supposedly not going to be brought before the Star Chamber of political correctness. But if you want to know why students in public schools are all too often educationally deprived, this is one of the reasons. Teacher preparation programs in far too many institutions have become focused on the idea of education as a primary way to inculcate the correct political ideas rather than teaching knowledge or the ability to learn.

And students are explicitly propagandized in the classroom. Thus, for example, Crystal Clear had a commenter on her blog ( a teenage student) criticize her for writing that the schools should spend less time on assemblies raising their consciousnesses, and more on education. The girl responded that one could learn grammar at any time, but that "minds were only open when they are young". This is highly discriminatory to say the least. It does not advance the interests of a student from a poor background.

This is from a speech by Thomas J. Switzer, the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Toledo:
Although we find some exceptions in practice, basically the way we have organized schooling, the way we teach, the questions we ask, and our firm belief in the value of the individual are rooted in a democratic tradition founded on social justice. Education is our prime vehicle for creating the "just" society. In all of our efforts in education we are preparing citizens to lead productive lives in a democratic society characterized by social justice.
Got that? Note also that democratic ideals are defined in terms of results, not opportunities or freedoms. The reason students can't learn about democracy and social justice from reading the Constitution and learning about American history, I suppose, is that it is not "global" enough.

I don't know how we can reverse idiocy on this grand scale, but we will have to find a way.


Still, to blame the universities only, is a mistake. The entire primary/high schoold education system proves to be no more than a run-up to university idiocy.

To fix the university problem, we need to start closer to home.
Yes, but the universities are training the people who run and teach in the primary and secondary schools.

This brings a new lot to Mamacita's woes, doesn't it?
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?