I have noticed a change in what teachers are taught to teach. Literacy used to be the driving concern for Language Arts teachers. Like other subject matter generalists, we study Motivation Theory, and cognitive strategies using the natural learning tendencies of the brain. We experiment and argue over implicit versus explicit teaching methods and take sides on the simple versus the complex reading approach. However, today Motivation Theory and cognitive strategies are used to teach literacy through social justice, or PE through social justice, or Math through social justice. James A. Banks and Cherry A. Banks McGee, pedagogical authorities, argue that the purpose of education is to achieve, or attempt to achieve, educational equity and social justice. Never mind that one third of our high school graduates are illiterate or semi-literate; go ahead and put on the back burner any concern that bullying and mental health is marring the school experience for hundreds of thousands of students each year not to mention the occasional horror of school shootings and suicides. These aren’t the issues problems addressed in teacher training programs when educational equity and social justice loom as the pressing issues of teaching today. So, what are these two dynamisms of teaching?
Educational equity is about making sure that everyone in class feels that they are equal to Whites and White culture so that learning the English language is equitably accessible. What this means is that all cultures must be taught as equal to White-European cultures and or are even superior to it; and if the teacher can manage it, taught in the language of the non-English speaker. Google Translate is indispensable for getting across the social justice message, putting down Whites and White America, rallying the young and impressionable to overthrow the American constitution in any language. At my last school site where I taught High School English, the students insisted, that is to say that the teacher-instigated students insisted that they hold a rally rather than walk out in protest against second amendment rights. This was after the latest school shooting. However, the rally was announced as if it were a school function. There wasn’t the option to stay in class. Some of my students asked if they could hold a rally in favor of second amendment rights. I suggested they write a proposal and send it to the CEO, both principals and the Board of Directors as well as to the local rag. Not fired-up by a teacher, the idea fizzled. Well, I’m fired up now and I’m standing up against Marxist propaganda.
Propaganda works on several levels in the classroom. The first is using biased material for classroom study. The second is to assert that a Marxist idea is factual when in fact it is questionable. The third is to shut down discussion. So, I’ll see how my upcoming year goes. I’ll let you know how using balanced arguments and resources from multiple points of view is received by administrators, students and parents. I’ll report back to you on how well truth is received when the curtain is pulled back on all cultures. I’ll blog about how it goes, encouraging discussion in the classroom about whether or not all cultures are equal, and whether or not there is a White America and a non-White America. I wonder what will happen during Black History Month if my students analyze Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s plagiarized speeches as if he were a quilt maker of other people’s words. What would happen if we celebrate W.E.B. DuBois’s achievement as the first African-American to graduate from Harvard University but also mention that he believed in encouraging the lesser blacks, those of base quality and character to abort their babies? What would happen if I quoted Zora Neale Hurston’s observation that the African slavers cut out their wealth from the bodies of black slaves long before the Whites came along? Well, I’ll let you all know what happens when a classroom of students talk truth.