Tag Archives: race

New edition of “The Social Studies Curriculum: Purposes, Problems, and Possibilities” in production

I’m very pleased to announce that the Fourth Edition of the The Social Studies Curriculum: Purposes, Problems, and Possibilities is now in production at The State University of New York Press and will be available in 2014.

This fourth edition includes 12 new chapters on: the history of the social studies; creating spaces for democratic social studies; citizenship education; anarchist inspired transformative social studies; patriotism; ecological democracy; Native studies; inquiry teaching; Islamophobia; capitalism and class struggle; gender, sex, sexuality and youth experiences in school; and critical media literacy. Chapters carried over from the Third Edition, which was published in 2006, have been substantially revised and updated, including those: on teaching in the age of curriculum standardization and high-stakes testing; critical multicultural social studies; prejudice and racism, assessment; and teaching democracy.

As with previous editions——the first edition of The Social Studies Curriculum was published in 1997 and the Revised Edition was released in 2001——the aim of this collection of essays is to challenge readers to reconsider their assumptions and understandings of the origins, purposes, nature, and possibilities of the social studies curriculum.

A fundamental assumption of this collection is that the social studies curriculum is much more than subject matter knowledge—a collection of facts and generalizations from history and the social science disciplines to be passed on to students. The curriculum is what students experience. It is dynamic and inclusive of the interactions among students, teachers, subject matter and the social, cultural, economic and political contexts education. The true measure of success in any social studies course or program will be found in its effects on individual students’ thinking and actions as well as the communities to which students belong. Teachers are the key component in any curriculum improvement and it is our hope that this book provides social studies teachers with perspectives, insights, and knowledge that are beneficial in their continued growth as professional educators.

I am very appreciative to all the authors who wrote chapters for this and previous editions of the book, including: Jane Bernard-Powers, Margaret Smith Crocco, Abraham DeLeon, Terrie Epstein, Ronald W. Evans, Linda Farr Darling, Stephen C. Fleury, Four Arrows (aka Don T. Jacobs), Kristi Fragnoli, Rich Gibson, Neil O. Houser, David W. Hursh, Kevin Jennings, Gregg Jorgensen, Lisa Loutzenheiser, Joseph Kahne, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Christopher R. Leahey, Curry Stephenson Malott, Perry M. Marker, Sandra Mathison, Cameron McCarthy, Merry Merryfield, Jack L. Nelson, Nel Noddings, Paul Orlowski, Valerie Ooka Pang, J. Michael Peterson, Marc Pruyn, Greg Queen, Frances Rains, David Warren Saxe, Doug Selwyn, Özlem Sensoy, Binaya Subedi, Brenda Trofanenko, Kevin D. Vinson, Walter Werner, Joel Westheimer, and Michael Whelan. Each of one of these contributors are exemplary scholars and educators and their work has had a tremendous impact on my own thinking and practice as well as many other educators.

Contents
The Social Studies Curriculum: Purposes, Problems, and Possibilities
(4th Edition)

Preface

Part I: Purposes of the Social Studies Curriculum

1. Social Studies Curriculum Migration: Confronting Challenges in the 21st Century
Gregg Jorgensen, Western Illinois University

2. Social Studies Curriculum and Teaching in the Age of Standardization
E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia
Sandra Mathison, University of British Columbia
Kevin D. Vinson, The University of the West Indies

3. Creating Authentic Spaces for Democratic Social Studies Education
Christopher R. Leahey, North Syracuse (NY) Public Schools & SUNY Oswego

4. “Capitalism is for the Body, Religion is for the Soul”: Insurgent Social Studies for the 22nd Century
Abraham P. DeLeon, University of Texas, San Antonio

Part II: Social Issues and the Social Studies Curriculum

5. Dangerous Citizenship
E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia
Kevin D. Vinson, The University of the West Indies

6. Teaching Students to Think About Patriotism
Joel Westheimer, University of Ottawa

7. Ecological Democracy: An Environmental Approach to Citizenship Education
Neil O. Houser, University of Oklahoma

8. Native Studies, Praxis, and The Public Good
Four Arrows, Fielding Graduate University

9. Marxism and Critical Multicultural Social Studies Education: Redux
Curry Malott, West Chester University
Marc Pruyn, Monash University

10. Prejudice, Racism, and the Social Studies Curriculum
Jack L. Nelson, Rutgers University
Valerie Ooka Pang, San Diego State University

11. The Language of Gender, Sex, and Sexuality and Youth Experiences in Schools
Lisa Loutzenheiser, University of British Columbia

Part III: The Social Studies Curriculum in Practice

12. Making Assessment Work for Teaching and Learning
Sandra Mathison, University of British Columbia

13. Why Inquiry?
Doug Selwyn, SUNY Plattsburgh

14. Beyond Fearing the Savage: Responding to Islamophobia in the Classroom
Özlem Sensoy, Simon Fraser University

15. Class Struggle in the Classroom
Greg Queen, Fitzgerald Senior High School (Warren, MI)

16. Critical Media Literacy and Social Studies
Paul Orlowski, University of Saskatchewan

17. Teaching Democracy: What Schools Need to Do
Joseph Kahne, Mills College
Joel Westheimer, University of Ottawa

Part IV: Conclusion

18. Remaking the Social Studies Curriculum
E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia

Race and Fear of the ‘Other’ in Common Sense Revolution Reforms (Critical Education 4.2)

Critical Education
Vol 4, No 2 (2013)

Table of Contents
Article

Race and Fear of the ‘Other’ in Common Sense Revolution Reforms
Laura Elizabeth Pinto
Niagara University

Abstract

During the 1990s, Ontario experienced significant social policy reform under the Progressive-Conservative government’s controversial, but straightforward, platform called the Common Sense Revolution (CSR), promising to solve Ontario’s economic problems with lower taxes, smaller government and pro-business policies intended to create jobs. The ideological framing led to policy direction which dismantled existing provincial policies and institutions designed to promote equity. This paper begins by providing evidence to support how the CSR functioned as racist across a broad swath of policy areas, through ideology and coded language, structure and program cuts, and processes. Based on interviews with sixteen policy actors, the paper reveals how the provincial curriculum policy formulation process overtly overlooked and dismantled anti-racism and social justice in curriculum policy.

New issue of Critical Education: Pedagogy and Privilege: The Challenges and Possibilities of Teaching Critically About Racism

Critical Education
Vol 4, No 1 (2013)
Table of Contents
http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/issue/view/182400

Articles
——–
Pedagogy and Privilege: The Challenges and Possibilities of Teaching
Critically About Racism
Ken Montgomery

Abstract
This reflective paper examines both the challenges and possibilities of drawing teacher education candidates into critical examination of cultural, structural, historical, and discursive dimensions of racism in the North American context. It considers the importance of fostering both a critical consciousness and humility amongst undergraduate education students as part of the process of preparing them to read and act upon schools and societies in ethically and politically responsible ways. It delineates some of the challenges in attempting to do this and offers up for discussion a few practical strategies for teaching against, through, and about the resistance and denials which often accompany efforts to teach critically about racism in university settings.

New issue Critical Education

Check out the latest issue of Critical Education, which includes Kelly Norris’ article “Meaningful Social Contact” as part of CE’s series “A Return to Educational Apartheid? Critical Examinations of Race, Schools, and Segregation”.

Critical Education
Vol 2, No 2 (2011)
Table of Contents

A Return to Educational Apartheid? Comments from the Series Co-Editor
Doug Selwyn
Abstract
Selwyn, co-editor of the “A Return to Educational Apartheid?” series, pays tribute to Critical Education Associate Editor Adam Renner and introduces the latest in a special series of articles focusing on the articulation of race, schools, and segregation. Each of the articles in this series analyzes the extent to which schooling may or may not be returning to a state of educational apartheid.

Meaningful Social Contact
Kelly Norris
Abstract
The resegregation of our schools presents a loss for many suburban students who now lack the ‘meaningful social contact’ that is necessary for successfully integrating into a multicultural society. What happens when white students are denied the opportunity to regularly connect with people of other races and backgrounds? What kind of thinking do we construct when we racially isolate our suburban students and how do we deconstruct that thinking so that they can become more tolerant, self-aware, liberated human beings? In this narrative essay, a teacher asks her suburban, mostly white students to examine their notions, experiences and identities regarding race through journaling and class discussion. A dynamic dialogue ensues and is shared, along with the author’s own journal responses to prompts about race, white identity and interracial relationships. What is revealed is the other side of the implications of resegregation.

Rouge Forum Update: Can Rising Resistance Overcome Repression?

Rouge Forum Update: Can Rising Resistance Overcome Repression?

The core issue of our time is the promise of perpetual war and booming inequality met by the potential of mass, class-conscious, resistance.

June 12, 1963: Medgar Evers Assassinated
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Little Red Schoolhouse:

CSU Bosses Demand Another Fee Hike–Students Betrayed by Rep: “The proposal would hike fees by 5% for undergraduate students and those in graduate business programs and 10% for doctoral education students. For full-time undergraduates, that translates to a $204 increase, bringing the total university fee to $4,230 for the 2010-2011 academic year. With campus fees included, the cost for an undergraduate to attend CSU would rise to $5,097. The plan also would eliminate the cap on nonresident tuition, with out-of-state students paying $16,257 for 30 semester units rather than the current $11,160…The CSU Board of Trustees will take up the proposal at a special meeting June 18. Last fall, undergraduate fees rose 32% after the board passed two separate hikes……Though students would prefer no fee hikes, a 5% raise is the best-case scenario, said Steve Dixon, president of the Cal State Student Assn.”

Detroit Mayor Moves to Take Over Schools: “Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is ready to take over city schools when Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb’s contract expires in March.
But the mayor is not going to make any such move without voter approval. A group of community activists and parents are preparing petitions to get the matter on the November ballot.

So Long Neighborhood School–Detroit Closes 32: “DPS, still the largest district in the state, has been hard-hit by continuous enrollment declines throughout the decade. District officials predict enrollment will drop from about 87,000 this year to 79,000 next year and continue to drop to below 57,000 by fall 2014.”

Denby High’s Mini-Thug Principal: “First-time principal Kenyetta Wilbourn, who is 4 foot 11, patrols the halls with a bat called “the Equalizer.” Her tactic came to light April 19 in a Detroit Free Press report. As a result, Denby High School students may venture out into the world with the perception that as a child it is not appropriate to use violence, but as an adult it is appropriate to utilize a bat to terrorize other individuals. Wilbourn’s behavior is inappropriate because it violates the school code of conduct, promotes violence, is a form of child abuse and, most of all, is illegal.”

George Washington (yes) vs Bob Bobb: “Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb said in court today he believed he had the power to forgo feedback to the school board on their academic plan and instead write his own.”

Supremes Love NCLB: “The Supreme Court has turned away a challenge by school districts — led by the Pontiac Public School District — and teacher unions to the federal No Child Left Behind law. The court said without comment Monday that it will not step into a lawsuit that questioned whether public schools have to comply with requirements of the law if the federal government doesn’t pay for them. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit and a federal appeals court split 8-8, leaving the judge’s ruling in place.” From The Detroit News:

How the Young of the Other Half Go to College: “When Allison Frisch goes shopping this summer for furnishings to decorate her freshman dorm room at Stephens College, she will be looking for a comforter for herself — and a matching doggie bed for her roommate.”

RaTT Attacked from the Right (Fish-ing–Pluralism is Crap): (Students should be brought “to see themselves as members of a heterogeneous nation . . . and a still more heterogeneous world, and to understand something of this history of the diverse groups that inhabit it.”

Read the full RF Update here.

Call for Manuscripts: A Return to Educational Apartheid? Critical Examinations of Race, Schools, and Segregation

A Return to Educational Apartheid? Critical Examinations of Race, Schools, and Segregation

A Critical Education Series

The editors of Critical Education are pleased to announce our second editorial series. This current series will focus on the articulation of race, schools, and segregation, and will analyze the extent to which schooling may or may not be returning to a state of educational apartheid.

On June 28, 2007, the Supreme Court of the US by a 5-4 margin voted to overturn Jefferson County’s four decade old desegregation plan. The Meredith case from Jefferson County was conjoined with the Parents Involved in Community Schools case from Seattle, WA, for which a group comprised primarily of white parents from two neighborhoods alleged some 200 students were not admitted to schools of their choice, based on “integration tie-breakers,” which prevented many from attending facilities nearest to their homes.

In Justice Roberts plurality opinion, he argued, “The parties and their amici debate which side is more faithful to the heritage of Brown [v. Board of Education, 1954] , but the position of the plaintiffs in Brown was spelled out in their brief and could not have been clearer: ‘The Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from according differential treatment to American children on the basis of their color or race’. What do racial classifications at issue here do, if not accord differential treatment on the basis of race?” And, later, “The way to stop discrimination based on race is to stop discrimination on the basis of race.”

Aside from the fact that the plaintiff in the Louisville case ultimately won her appeal in the Jefferson County system, placing her white child into precisely the school she wanted based on her appeal to the district, demonstrating that the system worked, it is the goal of this series to investigate the extent to which Justice Roberts and the other concurring justices have taken steps to erode the civil rights of the racially marginalized in order to serve the interests of the dominant racial group. It took just a little over 50 years (of monumental effort) to get a case to the Supreme Court to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson. Now, has it taken just a little over 50 years to scale that decision back with the overturning of voluntary desegregation plans in Jefferson County and Seattle School District 1?

In 2003, with a different make-up, the Supreme Court foreshadowed this 2007 verdict by rendering a ‘split decision’ regarding the University of Michigan admission policies. In the Gratz v. Bollinger case, the Supreme Court decided 6-3 that the University of Michigan needed to modify their admission criteria, which assigned points based on race. However, in the Grutter v. Bollinger case, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 to uphold the University of Michigan Law School’s ruling that race could be one of several factors when selecting students because it furthers “a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.”

In Jonathan Kozol’s 2005 sobering profile of American education, Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, a lamenting follow-up to his earlier work, Savage Inequalities, he already began to illustrate the retrograde process many public school systems have undergone related to racial balance. His critique of these pre-Brown-like-segregation systems was balanced, ironically, by rather effusive praise of the Jefferson County system, which attempted to keep this balance in check. Does the 2007 decision remove this one shining example?

Though the course toward educational apartheid may not be pre-destined, what is the likelihood that the “path of least resistance” will lead toward racial separation? How does the lingering legacy of residential segregation complicate this issue? What connections can we draw to and/or how might further racial segregation exacerbate issues of poverty or unemployment? Further, where do race and class collide? And, where is a more distinct analysis necessary? Finally, what can we surmise about the ongoing achievement gap if, in fact, apartheid schooling is afoot?

Undoubtedly, at worst, this decision could prove to be a harbinger for the death of a waning democracy. Without a compelling public education that helps all our children become critical consumers and citizens, what kind of society might we imagine for ourselves? At best, though, this decision could marshal the sensibilities of a critical cadre of educators, social workers, health care workers, activists, attorneys, business leaders, etc. to stand in resistance to the injustice that is becoming our nation’s public school system.

In an LA Times opinion piece a few days before this 2007 decision, Edward Lazarus argued, “Although they may have disagreed about Brown’s parameters, most Americans coalesced around the decision as a national symbol for our belated rejection of racism and bigotry. Using Brown as a sword to outlaw affirmative action of any kind would destroy that worthy consensus and transform it into just another mirror reflecting a legal and political culture still deeply fractured over race.” As Allan Johnson (2006), in Privilege, Power, and Difference, claims, there can be no healing until the wounding stops. Likewise, paraphrasing Malcolm X’s provocation about so-called progress, he reminded us that although the knife in the back of African-Americans may once have been nine inches deep, that it has only been removed a few inches does not indicate progress. Will this decision plunge the knife further?

Series editors Adam Renner (from Louisville, KY) and Doug Selwyn (formerly of Seattle, WA) invite essays that treat any of the above questions and/or other questions that seek clarity regarding race, education, schooling, and social justice. We seek essays that explore the history of segregation, desegregation, and affirmative action in the US and abroad. While we certainly invite empirical/quantitative research regarding these issues, we also welcome more qualitative studies, as well as philosophical/theoretical work, which provide deep explorations of these phenomena. We especially invite narratives from parents or students who have front line experience of segregation and/or educational apartheid. Additionally, and importantly, we seek essays of resistance, which document the struggle for racial justice in particular locales and/or suggestions for how we might wrestle toward more equitable schooling for all children.

Please visit Critical Education for information on submitting manuscripts.

Also feel free to contact the series editors, Adam Renner (arenner@bellarmine.edu) or Doug Selwyn (dselw001@plattsburgh.edu) with any questions.

Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss: Obama’s education policy ignores role of poverty in educational achievement (and evidence that NCLB should be scrapped)

In a Chicago Daily Observer column, which also appeared in the print version of the Chicago Sun-Times, Don Rose gives “Bad Grades for Obama on Education.”

Rose cuts Obama a break and doesn’t “fail” him because of his commitment to early childhood education (the federal stimulus bill he signed last month will provide $5 billion to grow the Early Head Start and Head Start programs nationwide, and expand access to child care for 150,000 more children from working families) and parental involvement. While I agree with Rose’s criticisms, he goes way too easy on Obama, who is betraying his “progressive” base in many areas, but none more so than on education policy where he is intensifying George W. Bush’s disastrous No Child Left Behind scheme.

As I’ve pointed out previously, Obama’s education plan is a continuation of the discredited and destructive No Child Left Behind Act. Rose makes this same point and notes that the rhetoric from Obama, and his education secretary Arne Duncan, is that NCLB just needs to be fixed, but the research evidence is clear that NCLB needs to be scrapped—see, for example, The Nature and Limits of Standards-Based Reform and Assessment and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right, both published by Teachers College Press, for extended critical analyses of NCLB.

How exactly is Obama failing on education?

First, and most importantly, Obama and Duncan ignore the 800 lbs. gorilla of educational achievement, which is poverty. Poverty is the major factor in the differences in school performance. As Rose points out

“poor education is an economic issue; failure to acknowledge that is the single most egregious omission in their statements. Regardless of what the “bell curve” advocates tell you, or the way Duncan talks about education as a “civil rights” issue, it isn’t race, but class.”

Studies have repeatedly shown that socio-economic factors have the highest correlations with student test scores.

Randy Hoover, a professor at Youngstown State University, has conducted a number of studies that show that tests scores are primarily predictors of class and race. In Hoover’s latest study, the three factors he found were most likely to predict test performance were the percentage of single parent wage earners, the percentage of poor children and the median family income in a school district. When Hoover combined those factors into what he calls the “lived experience index” He found they were responsible for at least 61 percent of a district’s test performance. (Hoover studied about 60 variables to see which correlated best with test performance and “on most of them I got no correlation whatsoever,” he said.)

The US has made “closing the achievement gap” among racial and ethnic groups a key goal. This is the one of the main purposes of No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB uses student testing as the primary strategy for promoting changes within schools to accomplish that goal. The problem, of course, is analogous to the old saying “you don’t make the pig grow by weighing it,” and as many educators have pointed out you don’t improve educational achievement by giving tests.

A recent policy brief by David C. Berliner, Regents Professor at Arizona State University, makes this point crystal clear. Berliner’s report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success, details six out-of-school factors (OSFs) common among the poor that “significantly affect the health and learning opportunities of children, and accordingly limit what schools can accomplish on their own”:

  • low birth-weight and non-genetic prenatal influences on children;
  • inadequate medical, dental, and vision care, often a result of inadequate or no medical insurance;
  • food insecurity;
  • environmental pollutants;
  • family relations and family stress; and
  • neighborhood characteristics.

Berliner also discusses is a seventh OSF, extended learning opportunities, such as preschool, after school, and summer school programs.

Because America’s schools are so highly segregated by income, race, and ethnicity, problems related to poverty occur simultaneously, with greater frequency, and act cumulatively in schools serving disadvantaged communities. These schools therefore face significantly greater challenges than schools serving wealthier children, and their limited resources are often overwhelmed. Efforts to improve educational outcomes in these schools, attempting to drive change through test-based accountability, are thus unlikely to succeed unless accompanied by policies to address the OSFs that negatively affect large numbers of our nations’ students.

One has to wonder how a supposed “progressive” president who, because of his own personal background, is sensitive to issues of poverty and its connections to race and ethnicity doesn’t see the connection between what goes on inside of schools and the social and economic conditions that affect students’ lives outside of schools. The simple answer is that Obama’s “progressivism” is a chimera and his education policy is not oriented to serving the needs of students, but rather interests of the corporate-capitalist class.

There is really no other logic to Obama’s pronouncements on education.

Obama wants give teachers pay for student test scores, ignoring the fact that history has proven such schemes to be debacles.

Obama praises charter schools for creativity and innovation, ignoring the fact that charter schools perform no better and often worse than public schools, pave the way for privatization, and allow teacher unions to be sidestepped. As Gerald Bracey says “you can’t bash the public schools on test scores then praise the charters which have lower scores.”

Like his predecessors, Obama misrepresents public education performance as a scare tactic and to open the door for the privatization. Obama claims that graduation rates have fallen from 77% to 67%, but the U. S. Department of Education says the best method for estimating it puts it at 74.5% nationally. Obama says dropout rates have tripled over the past 30 years. But how does a 10% decline in graduation rate equal a 300% increase in dropout rate?

Obama claims “Just a third of our 13- and 14-year-olds can read as well as they should.” Gerald Bracey calls this claim “outright garbage.”

Obama has “raved about South Korean schools but neglected to say that thousands of South Korean families sell their children–yes, sell–to American families so their kids can a) learn English and b) avoid the horrible rigidity of Korean schools. And while the US trails Korea on average test scores, it has a higher proportion of students scoring at the highest level on the Program of International Student Achievement (PISA). Moreover, it has the highest number of high scorers (67,000) of any country. No one else even comes close.”

Obama’s education stimulus package continues the regimentation of curriculum and test-driven approach to education by bribing states and school districts to apply for $5 billion in grants largely aimed at boosting student test scores. These grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, are known as the “Race to the Top Fund.”

Obama, Duncan, and the rest do this because that is what they must do in the social context they are in, and because they have chosen sides in what is the class war, the international war of the rich on the poor, which the rich recognize and the poor, at least in the US, do not—yet.

The core issue of our time is the interaction of rising inequality and mass, class-conscious, resistance. That is why the education agenda is a war agenda.