Been getting a lot of these popping up on my feed lately.

Treat me like I’m quite sophisticated in terms of critical race theory, various social theories on gender, race, class, and the intersectionalities therein.

But also, understand that, as a regular old classroom teacher, I bust my ass every single day. I get in at 7:30, leave at about 5:30, with an hour or so of additional work at home most weekdays. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on new teaching tools, supplies, food, each and every school year.

Additionally, bear in mind that my views are very different, albeit based on research and years of careful study, and this always puts a target on my back.

So, here’s a comment I made, please tell me where I’m wrong. I genuinely want to know.

Here’s the thing. Articles like this, they underscore important conversations and actions that will/need to happen, and will/need/to happen regardless of my participation. Let me give you an example. I teach K at Malcolm X ES in SE DC. Been there three years. Left the relative safety/banality of higher education. Actually, higher education left me. I work in a system where admin drinks, markets, and manufactures the education reform Kool-Aide.

And…

Articles like this tell me, as a white teacher in a school that is 100% AA and 100% FARMS, ditch the privilege. I get it, but as a teacher with no status, no leg to stand on, and no leverage, constantly scrutinized by central office, privilege is all I have left to use to defend my students from exploitation and really bad ideas. Privilege is all I have to use to get answers about why our school is constantly threatened with closure. When I show up at a DC Council meeting to ask why we don’t find out if our school is open or not the next SY until April or May, you’re bet I’m going to pull out that privilege and speak my mind. But by all means, you want to spend thousands of dollars of your own money supplementing our really crappy school budget, buy your kids snack every day because we eat lunch at 10:45 and they’re starving by 1PM, by all means, I’ll pack my privilege up and move along.

This is mainly to my academic friends out there.

Around this time, faculty and graduate students are notified as to whether or not their super-awesome proposals to the American Educational Research Association (AERA) have been accepted. Posts to social media regarding the status of these proposals come in three distinct varieties:

  1. “Aw shucks, only four of my five proposals were accepted!?!” (why should a person get so many slots anyway? There should be a rule against that).
  2. “My proposal(s) was/were not accepted. Oh well, it’s too expensive anyway.” (It is).
  3. “I was neither accepted nor rejected because I didn’t even apply. Suckers!”

I’ve “presented” at AERA before. As an academic, it was important to go. It looked good on a CV, and maybe you got to reconnect with people you don’t see very often. I’m also told that the conference sex is amazing (gross).

AERA never really did anything for me. As a teacher now, it does even less.

Here’s the thing humblebraggers: no one really cares outside your bubble. As long as this “research” is hidden behind expensive paywalls, it will do little to nothing to actually impact the real work of educators.

Enjoy your moment. And for many research proposals presented at AERA, this may be the only time your ideas will see the light of day, especially if you publish it in a mainstream journal.

Seriously, open source it people if you want to do some good.

Of what I reviewed on social media in the last day at the crossroads of education and Saturday’s march, this seems to be a general sentiment:

Or this:

In a nutshell (if that is possible), education is not working for Black persons, and has also been used as its own tool of oppression in order to preserve the white supremacist power structure. Children have been confined to “ghetto” schools in communities that also lack a number of other basic community services and structures that could improve the lives of those that live within.

But poor investment in education is a different matter than “miseducation.” The latter may be much more deliberate, even though budget decisions are deliberate enough. Nonetheless, young persons of color are educated to concede to their oppression, maybe to condone it, excuse it, explain it away, and to ignore their own unique cultures. The goal is to devalue every aspect of community as the only means of escape, never to look back. Adhere to strict dress codes, speak proper English, and track the speaker.

It might take more digging, or more time, to realize what lessons we can learn from this movement in particular to education. I believe that privatization, and many central tenets of so-called “education reform,” do amount to miseducation. I suspect that even the most progressive and liberal minded of public school reformers have to answer for their own ignorance of race and education. But there is no way that anyone could reasonably argue that alignment with charter school operators, charter management organizations, and the largely white male philanthrocapitalist has done any good for anyone in the last 20 years since this March began.

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It’s hard for me not to be slightly cynical on special days like this because they’re largely capitalist confections created by skilled marketers. Take a look at how far we’ve come from the original connotations of “Mother’s Day,” from the Zinn History Project. What began as a call to action, now we eat brunch and exchange […]