Between this panel, where I serve as a discussant, and our live broadcast of At the Chalk Face, I think the overall theme here is agitation, hoping I shame my colleagues into action. There is no excuse for self-identified democratic and social justice scholars to be silent any longer with what is happening to our public schools. So, here’s my upcoming commentary, which I will read in full. Sorry for any typos, it’s on an iPad.
Are we beginning to have a problem in social studies where it is normed on pre service teachers, like psychology and college sophomores. I’m wondering if we should all put a moratorium on studying preservice teachers because I don’t know what else we can learn, especially from preservice teachers at large public Midwestern research universities.
We encourage our preservice teachers to look, sound, and think like us about social studies. In one case, an author here stated that they are actually starting to share our views and our vocabulary. I’m wondering if this is a good thing because we in CUFA and in social studies writ large already find ourselves trapped within a grand echo chamber.
There is also some indication here that we in CUFA understand and appreciate the function of social studies as a preservation of democratic values. Our pre service teachers must be politically active, within education specifically, since we are dealing with former educators as professors now and future teachers. Well, let’s take a long hard look at ourselves. Before we can expect that of our students, we must also be participating. What are you doing?
I’m sure many of us have voted. Perhaps volunteered in a political campaign. But are you aware that there is very little daylight between democratic and republican education policy in the united states? I encounter students, teachers, and my own colleagues who have no idea why teachers went on strike in Chicago. Are you aware that race to the top is essentially the extortion of states to adhere to market driven education reforms? Who wrote the common core and who stands to profit? And, as supposed defenders of democracy, are you aware of the influence of the, for example, gates, broad, and Walton foundations on public education? I don’t recall bill gates being on any ballot.
So, rather than casting high minded and theoretical aspersions at a bunch of 20 year old kids, what are you doing to defend public education from the plutocrats? What if we spent the next year getting out of the journals and into the streets? We heard about waiting for superman. Well, what do you know about the more recently Walton funded confection won’t back down, which is about parent trigger laws? Did you consider, like many of the folks I know, picketing the NYC premier? Did you take a moment to hand out some flyers at local theaters underscoring the propaganda in the film? I would say that these grassroots efforts are more important than yet another research article.