Tag Archives: conferences

Standardized Testing in Canada: Real Accountability or an Illusion of Success?

Action Canada public dialogue taking place Friday, November 30th, from 8:00am to 9:30am. Moderated by Tom Clark (Chief Political Correspondent and Host of Global TV ‘s The West Block), the theme we will be exploring is:

 Standardized Testing in Canada: Real Accountability or an Illusion of Success?

Focusing on British Columbia’s K-12 education systems, our guest speakers for this session include Peter Cowley (Senior Vice-President Operations and Director of School Performance Studies, The Fraser Institute), April Lowe (Grade 3 Teacher, Garibaldi Highlands Elementary School), and Joel Westheimer (University Research Chair, Sociology of Education, University of Ottawa).

This event will take place in the Asia Pacific Hall of Vancouver’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue (580 West Hastings Street). Following this session will be two more dialogues hosted by other Action Canada Task Forces: “Teaching Questions Not Answers” (at 9:30am) and “Who Cares about Young Caregivers (at 11:00am).

This event is free, but registration is required: Vancouver Public Dialogue

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

-Sébastien Després and the Action Canada Task Force on Standardized Testing

Great Schools Teach-in

Great Schools Teach-In:
How Should We Assess Our Schools?

Saturday, December 1
10 am to 12:30 pm–coffee from 9:30
Simon Fraser University Surrey Campus (Surrey Central Sky Train)
250 – 13450 – 102nd Avenue

The Great Schools Project is a collaboration among individuals who want to strengthen and protect public education in British Columbia. For almost four years, educators, parents, researchers, and leaders, both inside and outside the education system, have met to discuss how to improve the way we evaluate and assess our schools.

We feel the current system is both too narrow (focused on only a portion of the important work schools do) and too punitive (with substantial negative impact on individual students and educators).

After extensive discussions of the current system of Foundation Skills Assessment (FSAs) and their use to rank schools, the GSP working group has developed ideas about alternatives that would better serve both students and public schools.

The Great Schools Teach-In provides an opportunity for us to present some of these ideas and for you to debate them and provide your input.


  1. Alfie Kohn, outstanding critic of standardized testing and proponent of richer ways of understanding how well our children and their schools are doing (by videocast).
  2. Speakers from the Great Schools Project
  3. Discussion and debate.

Please RSVP to: dlaitsch@sfu.ca

For more information see our website: Great Schools Project

Great Schools Project Working Committee

  • David Chudnovsky (retired teacher; former MLA; BCTF President 1999-2002
  • Janet Dempsey (retired teacher; ESL specialist)
  • Iglika Ivanova, (Ecomomist and Public Interest Researcher CCPA)
  • Bill Hood (recently retired teacher; current PDP Faculty Associate SFU)
  • Larry Kuehn (Director Research and Technology BCTF)
  • Daniel Laitsch (Associate Professor Education Leadership, SFU Surrey; Founding Director SFU Centre for the Study of Educational Leadership and Policy; Co-Editor International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership)
  • Sandra Mathison (Professor of Education UBC; Co-Director Institute for Critical Education Studies)
  • Adrienne Montani (Provincial Coordinator First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition; former Chair, Vancouver School Board)
  • Marion Runcie (former Chairperson BCTF Teacher Personnel Services Committee; Facilitator, Programme for Quality Teaching; co-designer, Burnaby School District Professional Growth Programme)
  • Paul Shaker (Professor Emeritus, Dean of Education SFU 2003-2008)
  • Michael Zlotnik (retired teacher; retired BCTF staff person: President, Public Education Network Society 2007-2012)

CFP: Critical Theories in the 21st Century

Call For Proposals
Critical Theories in the 21st Century

Due to the success of last years’ inaugural event, we are very excited about the upcoming Critical Theories in the Twenty-First Century conference at West Chester University. Due to the deepening crisis of global capital and the anti-capitalist movement in embryo (since last November), this year we added a special theme: Critical Education Against Capitalism. As many reactions to the ravages of capital are reformist in nature, failing to identify and target the true causes (i.e. private property as a complex historical process) of exploitation, injustices, war, educational expansion as well as educational budget cuts, ideological indoctrination, and so on, especially in critical pedagogy, this discussion targeting the root capitalist cause of life at the present moment is particularly relevant and needed.

Consequently, whereas last year “the call for proposals” was “general enough to be inclusive of many critical approaches to transformative or revolutionary pedagogies and theory,” this year we ask the critical pedagogy community to present their works in a way that demonstrates how it contributes to achieving a post-capitalist society. As such, we can suggest a few relevant themes for proposals: Marxist educational theory, Anarchist pedagogies, austerity/educational budget cuts, ignoring poverty, racialization and hegemony, (anti)settler-colonialism/imperialism, indigenous critical theory/autonomous governance, anti-capitalist eco-pedagogy, atheism and education, queer theory against capital, etc.

While this conference will include important presentations and debates between key figures in critical pedagogy, it will not be limited to this focus. In other words, as critical theory becomes more inclusive, global, and all encompassing, this conference welcomes more than just academics as important contributors. That is, we recognize students and youth groups as possessing authentic voices based on their unique relationship to capitalism and will therefore be open to them as presenters and discussion leaders (as was done in 2011). While this inclusivity is obviously designed to challenge traditional distributions of social power in capitalist societies, it will not be done romantically where participants’ internalized hegemonies are not challenged. Put another way, while students will be included as having something valuable to contribute, they will both be subjected to the same scrutiny as established academics, as well as invited to share their own critiques. All participants will therefore be included in the discussions of why and how to achieve a post-capitalist society.


November 16th and 17th 2012


Friday evening and all day Saturday


West Chester University, West Chester, PA


To contribute to the wide and deep network of critical educators throughout the world working with students and workers building a vast coalition of critical thinkers who know that a meaningful life after capitalism is possible.

More info here.

How Class Works 2012 – Conference Videos

Via Michael Zweig at SUNY Stony Brook:

Dear Friends and Colleagues

The How Class Works – 2012 conference, held at Stony Brook University June 6-9, was by all reports a success. There were over 180 presentations in 50 sessions, with 240 people attending. The conference welcomed presentations from across the United States and fifteen other countries – graduate students and senior scholars in many fields of study; labor and community activists; independent scholars, artists, and poets–all exploring one or another aspect of working class studies.

A number of papers presented at the conference are now available on the conference Website. Go to:


We will add more papers as we receive them and post audio recordings of many sessions this coming fall.

Meanwhile, I am happy to report that the University has posted to YouTube videos for four of the plenary sessions at the conference, listed below with the link for each (the number corresponds to the session number on the conference program). These are each important documents with significant content and I invite you to view them.

4.0 Corporations Are Not People: Responding to the Supreme Court in Citizens United
Jeffrey Clements
How Class Works – 2012 conference opening plenary session and Stony Brook University Provost Lecture, Thursday evening, June 7, 2012

5.0 May Day in New York City: Occupy, Labor, and Community
with Penny Lewis, Teresa Gutierrez, Thisanjali Gangoda, and Amy Muldoon
How Class Works – 2012 conference plenary session, Friday morning June 8, 2012

9.0 Awards at Conference Banquet
Working Class Studies Association – to Franco Barchiesi (best book), Steven Brier (best article), and Jamie McCallum (best dissertation) in 2011
Center for Study of Working Class Life – Award for Lifetime Contributions to Social Justice for Working People, to Stanley Aronowitz and Dennis Serrette
Friday evening June 8, 2012

11.0 The U.S. in 2012: What’s Class Got to Do with It? A Roundtable Discussion
with Bill Fletcher, Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Bob Herbert, Frances Fox Piven, and Michael Zweig
How Class Works – 2012 conference plenary session, Saturday morning June 9, 2012

We have reserved space at Stony Brook for the How Class Works – 2014 conference, June 4-7, 2014. The first call for presentations will go out in the spring of 2013.

with best wishes


Michael Zweig
Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life
Department of Economics
State University of New York

Critical Education partners with VI Congress of the Mediterranean Society of Comparative Education

Critical Education will be a partner journal with the VI Congress of the Mediterranean Society of Comparative Education, which will be held Hammame, Tunisia October 1-3, 2012.

For more information about the conference visit the website or contact:

Jelmam Yassine Ph.D
Assistant Professor
National Engineering School of Tunis
GSM : 00 216 98202093
Skype : jelmam.yassine
Mail : yassine.jelmam@yahoo.fr

Hrairi Sameh – GSM : 00 216 98656444

COCAL X Conference in Mexico City

COCAL X Conference in Mexico City

August 9-12, 2012

The tenth annual COCAL Conference will be held in Mexico City, on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico from Thursday, August 9 through Sunday, August 12, 2010.

The host for COCAL X is the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (STUNAM). Contingent faculty activists and representatives from North America will participate in the conference. Presentations and plenaries will be translated into English, French, and Spanish.



(Photo by David Milroy)

Mexico City is about a five hour flight from Washington, D.C.; four hours from Chicago, and three and a half hours from Los Angeles. The conference arrangements include a group hotel and bus transportation to and from sessions.

  • Call for papers

We are requesting submissions for presentations at the COCAL X Conference. The deadline is June 15, 2012. Click here for guidelines for submissions.

  • Conference Registration
  • Early Registration by June 15, 2012: $225
  • Registration after June 15, 2012: $250

Click here for online registration

Click here for a mail-in registration form


Below is information about registration and accommodations for planning purposes:

Conference registration fee includes:

  • All workshops, plenaries & materials
  • 5 meals (lunches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; dinner Friday and Saturday)
  • 2 cultural shows during Friday and Saturday dinners.
  • Visit to two museums on Sunday (Anthropology Museum and Chapultepec Castle)
  • Transfers on buses.

Optional tour: Thursday, August 9th visit to Pyramids of Teotihuacan, $50

  • Scholarship Fund
    A COCAL Scholarship can support attendees who may otherwise not be able to attend. Donations to the scholarship fund can be made on the registration form. Scholarship funds will be disbursed to recipients at the conference.
    Scholarships will be awarded in two rounds; the first from a modest pool of existing funds, the second from any leftover funds or additional funds received. For the best chance of receiving a scholarship, apply by the first deadline.
    May 31: first round scholarship applications due
    June 30: second round scholarship applications due

Click here for an application to the scholarship fund

Plenaries and workshop topics

cocal ix plenary

Plenary at COCAL IX

(Photo by David Milroy)

Plenary 1: Changes in academic work in the context of neoliberal globalization
1. Teaching, researching, and disseminating knowledge to the larger community, including academic management of e-learning
2. Gaining and maintaining health, unemployment, and retirement benefits
3. Supporting academic improvement, evaluation processes, and recognition

Plenary 2: Organization and new forms of struggle by academic workers; challenges and strategies for the 21st century
4. Forming and building unions, associations, federations, networks and coalitions
5. Expanding employment rights: hiring, retention, tenure, wages, health benefits, and safety
6. Strengthening union rights: institutional recognition, alliances and federations, collective bargaining rights, and labor laws and regulations
7. Supporting political rights, cultural rights, and academic freedom
8. Exploring forms of struggle and achievements: campaigns, negotiations, demonstrations, work stoppages, strikes, and use of new technologies and social media

Plenary 3: Culture and identity of the new academic citizens in North America and the world
9. Creating a sense of academic culture and university identity: freeway flyers and working with multiple assignments and institutions
10. New forms of academic citizenship, new work and the changing university community: finding spaces of resistance to the corporate model of higher education
11. Fighting discrimination and inequality: multicultural identity, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and different capabilities
12. Building connections between the contingent academic worker and the university community: tenure-track faculty, research faculty, students, staff, and administrators

Planned Social/Cultural Events


Teotihuacan Pyramids

(Photo by David Milroy)

    • Visit to the castle of Chapultepec and the National Museum of anthropology
    • Tour of Ciudad Universitaria facilities (UNESCO-World Heritage Site)
    • Friday and Saturday dinners organized by Mexican university unions with music and dance

Optional preconference excursion day ($50 extra):

    • Visit to the pyramids of Teotihuacan



Hotel Radisson Paraíso Perisur
Cuspide 53, Col. Parque del Pedregal, 14020 Mexico D.F.
$82 US, taxes included, each night for a single-bed or double-bed room.  Additional persons in room are $10 per person, up to 4 persons total per room.

  • Services included with this rate: Single or double room with free high-speed wireless internet for COCAL attendees.
  • This hotel is the closest to the university.
  • In rooms: a work desk with lamp, cable TV, mini bar and iron/ironing board.
  • At hotel: wireless Internet access, a fitness center, cell phone rentals, an American Airlines ticket office, and on-site car rentals.
  • Breakfast is not included in the room rate.  There is a hotel buffet from 7:00 AM to 12:00 noon which costs $15 US (taxes are included). There is also a big shopping center and a variety of inexpensive places to eat very near the hotel.
  • Suggested tips: bellboys $1.50 US and housekeepers $1 US.
  • To make reservations, call (011) + 52 55 59 27 59 59 extension 1286, and mention “COCAL UNAM” to get the special price. You can pay by credit card.
    You may also pay by interbank transfer to BBVA Bancomer 0164753755 (Standardized Bank Code 012180001647537555).  Be aware of extra fees for international bank transfers.
    If you have questions, please contact the Sales Manager, Mrs. Rocio Guzmán
    Telephone (011) +52 (55) 56 06 42 11, fax 55 28 16 33.
  • For photos of the hotel, click here: http://www.radisson.com/mexico-city-hotel-df-14020/mexicoci/locations

Hotel Royal Pedregal
Periférico Sur 4363, México, D. F.
$82 US, taxes included, each night for a single-bed or double-bed room.

  • In rooms: air-conditioning, satellite TV, telephone, mini-bar, tea/coffee and internet access
  • At hotel: arcade, children’s club, car rent, fitness center and full health spa offering a variety of beauty and massage treatments, sauna, steam room and spa tub.
  • Breakfast is not included in the room rate.  There is a hotel buffet from 7:00 AM to 12:00 noon which costs $13 US (taxes are included). There is also a big shopping center and a variety of inexpensive places to eat very near the hotel.
  • To make reservations call 1-866-332-3590 and ask for either Reservation Manager, Erika Ruiz or Nancy Carrillo
    They are available 9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Monday to Friday, and 9:00 AM-1:00 PM Saturday and Sunday
    Mention “COCALV” to get the special price (make sure you say it exactly like this: C-O-C-A-L-V).  You can pay by credit card.
    Special price for COCAL attendees is good only through August 3rd, 2012.
  • For photos of the hotel, click here: http://royal-pedregal.hotel-rn.com/?lbl=ggl

Conference: Doing and Undoing Academic Labour

‘Doing and Undoing Academic Labour’

7 June 2012, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

University of Lincoln (UK)

In recent decades, a wealth of information has been produced about academic labour: the financialisation of knowledge, diminution of professional autonomy and collegiality through managerialism and audit cultures; the subsumption of higher education into circulations of capital, proletarianisation of intellectual work, shift from dreams of enlightenment and emancipation to imperatives of ‘employability’, and experiences of alienation and anger amongst educators across the world.

This has also been a period of intensifying awareness about the significance of these processes, not only for teachers and students in universities, but for all labour and intellectual, social and political life as well. And now we watch the growth of a transnational movement that is inventing new ways of knowing and producing knowledge, new forms of education, and new possibilities for pedagogy to play a progressive role in struggles for alterantives within the academy and beyond.

Yet within the academy, the proliferation of critical work on these issues is not always accompanied by qualitative changes in everyday practice. The conditions of academic labour for many in the UK are indeed becoming more precarious and repressive – and in unequal measure across institutions and disciplines, and in patterns that retrench existing inequalities of gender, physical ability, class, race and sexuality. The critical analysis of academic labour promises much, but often remains disconnected from the ways we work in practice with others.

This conference brings together scholars and activists from a range of disciplines to discuss these problems, and to consider how critical knowledge about new forms of academic labour can be linked to struggles to humanise labour and knowledge production within and beyond the university.


  • Mette Louise Berg – ‘Situated reflections: on gender and becoming an academic’
  • Anna Curcio – ‘Race and Gender in the Edu-Factory’
  • Richard Hall – ‘Educational technology and the war on public education’
  • Maria Do Mar Pereira – ‘(Im)Possible Labour? Critical Education in “Performative” Universities’
  • Dean Lockwood, Rob Coley and Adam O’Meara – ‘What a relief to have nothing to say…Academic labour and language in the rhizome’
  • Andrew McGettigan – ‘Value for money: degree awarding powers, standards and academic labour’
  • Justine Mercer and Howard Stevenson – ‘The frontier of control revisited: managerial authority and academic labour revisited’
  • Sara Motta – ‘The messiness of motherhood in the neoliberal university’
  • Gigi Roggero – ‘Occupy Knowledge’

Public / Free / Open
This conference is public, free and open to everyone; we warmly invite you to attend. Please register via the website so we know how many people will be attending. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Dr. Sarah Amsler at samsler@lincoln.ac.uk.

Getting here
Doing and Undoing Academic Labour will be held in Learning Landscapes, MB1019, the University of Lincoln. Click here for a map of the campus.

We hope to see you here!

Best wishes,

Dr. Sarah Amsler
Sr. Lecturer in Education
Centre for Educational Research and Development
University of Lincoln
Lincoln LN6 7TS

Welcome Rouge Forum @ AERA 2012 Participants!

The Institute for Critical Education Studies (ICES) extends a warm welcome to all Rouge Forum @ AERA 2012 participants, international, national, and local! We look forward to a lively, engaged conversation or perhaps debate at Friday’s conference, with our intent of exploring what it means for scholars, and educators in general, to move beyond “knowing” to the pursuit of activist agendas for social change.

  • What happens when teachers and other academics connect reason to power and power to resistance?
  • How can academic work (in universities and other learning environments) support local and global resistance to global neoliberal capitalism?
  • How do we respond to the obstacles and threats faced as activist scholars?

For more information and directions, go to Rouge Forum @ AERA.  We are meeting Friday April 13, 2012 (9:00am – 6:00pm) at the University of British Columbia Robson Square Campus (downtown Vancouver).  See you there! *Remember it is free and all are welcome!

CFP Rouge Forum 2012 (Deadline April 15)

The Rouge Forum 2012 will be held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The University’s picturesque campus is located 50 minutes northwest of Cincinnati. The conference will be held June 22-24, 2012.

Proposals for papers, panels, performances, workshops, and other multimedia presentations should include title(s) and names and contact information for presenter(s). The deadline for sending proposals is April 15.  The Steering Committee will email acceptance notices by May 1.

Read the Call for Proposals.

Featured speakers this year include Mike Prysner, Paul Street, and Susan Ohanian.

Ross delivers keynote at International Conference on Research in Teaching of Social Sciences in Barcelona

Last month, E. Wayne Ross, Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy and ICES member, gave the keynote address at the Ninth International Conference on Research in Teaching of Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain). Organized by GREDICS (Research Group on the Teaching of Social Sciences) this year’s conference theme was “The Formation of Social Thought and the Construction of Democracy in the Teaching of Social Science, Geography, and History.”

Ross’ talk, titled “Social Control and the Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenship”, can be streamed online here (in Catalan).

The PowerPoint presentation of Ross’ talk is available in English, Spanish, and Catalan.

The abstract of his talk follows:

Social Control and the Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenship

Yes, citizenship—above all in a society like ours, of such authoritarian and racially, sexually, and class-based discriminatory traditions—is really an invention, a political production. In this sense, one who suffers any [or all] of the discriminations…does not enjoy the full exercise of citizenship as a peaceful and recognized right. On the contrary, it is a right to be reached and whose conquest makes democracy grow substantively. Citizenship implies freedom…Citizenship is not obtained by chance: It is a construction that, never finished, demands we fight for it. It demands commitment, political clarity, coherence, decision. For this reason a democratic education cannot be realized apart from an education of and for citizenship. (Paulo Freire, Teachers as Cultural Workers, p. 90)

The nature of citizenship and the meanings of citizenship education are complex, as are their multiple and contradictory implications for contemporary schooling and everyday life. The issues citizenship education presents are critical and inexorably linked to the present and future status of public schooling and the maintenance, strengthening, and expansion of individual and democratic rights.

In his classic book Democracy and Education (1916), John Dewey opens with a discussion of the way in which all societies use education as a means of social control. Dewey argues that education as a social process and function has no definite meaning until we define the kind of society we have in mind. In other words, there is no “objective” answer to questions about the means and ends of citizenship education, because those purposes are not things that can be discovered.

In Normative Discourse, Paul Taylor (1961) succinctly states a maxim that has the potential to transform our approach to the civics, citizenship education and the whole of the social studies curriculum: “We must decide what ought to be the case. We cannot discover what ought to be the case by investigating what is the case” (p. 278). We—educators and citizens—must decide what ought to be the purpose of citizenship education. That means asking what kind of society, what kind of and world we want to live in and then taking action to make it a reality. And, in particular, in what sense of democracy do we want this to be a democratic society? In order to construct meaning for civics and citizenship education, we must engage these questions not as merely abstract or rhetorical, but in relation to our lived experiences and our professional practice as educators.

Not surprisingly then civics and citizenship education—which is generally accepted as the primary purpose the social studies education—has always been a highly contested curricular area. The tapestry of topics, methods, and aims we know as social studies education has always contained threads of social reconstructionism. Social reconstructionists in the USA, such as George S. Counts, Harold Rugg, and later Theodore Brameld argued that teachers should work toward social change by teaching students to practice democratic principles, collective responsibility, and social and economic justice. Dewey advocated the democratic reconstruction of society and aspects of his philosophy inform the work of some aspects of citizenship education. The traditional patterns of social studies teaching, curriculum, and teacher education, however, reflect little of the social reconstructionist vision of the future, and current practices in these areas are more often focused on implementing standardized curriculum and responding to high-stakes tests than developing and working toward a vision of a socially just world. Indeed, the self-described social studies “contrarians” in the USA who advocate the “transmission” of “facts” and reject pluralism in favor of nationalism and monculturalism seem to be have the upper hand in most schools and classrooms, despite spirited resistance.

Undoubtedly, good intentions undergird citizenship education programs in North American. And yet, too often their oppressive possibilities overwhelm and subsume their potential for anti-oppression and anti-oppressive education, especially as states, the national government, and professional education associations continue their drive to standardize, to impose a singular theory and practice of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Social studies educators must pursue, as some already do, an agenda dedicated to the creation of a citizenship education that struggles against and disrupts inequalities and oppression. Classroom practice must work toward a citizenship education committed to exploring and affecting the contingencies of understanding and action and the possibilities of eradicating exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence in both schools and society. Freire, as illustrated in the above quotation, like Dewey, teaches us that citizenship education is essential to democratic education, and that democratic education is essential to a free and democratic society. Students must know that birth, nationality, documents, and platitudes are not enough. They must understand that the promises of citizenship (freedom), the fulfillment of its virtues, are unfinished, and that they remain an ongoing, dynamic struggle. And they must come to act in a variety of creative and ethical ways, for the expansion and realization of freedom and democracy, the root of contemporary notions of citizenship, is in their hands, and it demands of them no less than the ultimate in democratic and anti-oppressive human reflection and human activity.

Contemporary conditions demand an anti-oppressive citizenship education, one that takes seriously social and economic inequalities and oppression that result from neoliberal capitalism and that builds upon the anti-oppressive possibilities of established and officially sanctioned approaches. Some new and potentially exciting directions and alternatives exist, however, within the recent scholarship surrounding Freirean and neo-Freirean pedagogy, democratic education, and cultural studies.

The pedagogical power “dangerous citizenship”, which I explore in the balance of this paper, resides in its capacity to encourage students and educators to challenge the implications of their own education/instruction, to envision an education that is free and democratic to the core, and to interrogate and uncover their own well-intentioned complicity in the conditions within which various cultural texts and practices appear, especially to the extent that oppressive conditions create oppressive cultural practices, and vice versa.