Author Archives: E Wayne Ross

“We can learn lessons from the streets” – Interview with Documento (Athens, Greece) on Uprisings in the USA

Here is a brief interview I did with Anna Papadimitriou for Documento newspaper (Athens, Greece), published in the June 6-7, 2020 edition. English text below.

Documento: The death of George Floyd has sparked massive protests in the United States. It seems that this is one of the “dominoes” that brought people out to the streets. What are the reasons fuelling people’s rage?

EWR: The brutal and horrifying killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin is the tipping point for large scale protests that ripped through over 120 cities in the United States. Floyd’s death is reminiscent of Eric Garner’s 2014 death at the hands of New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo who placed him in a prohibited chokehold while Garner uttered “I can’t breathe.” But in recent weeks we have also witnessed the police killing of Breonna Taylor in her home in Louisville, Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting death in Georgia by a white ex-police officer. The United States, and African Americans in particular, have suffered from an epidemic of police brutality and killing for years. Since 2014, after Michael Brown, an unarmed black man was gunned down by police in Ferguson, Missouri, there have been over 5,000 Americans shot and killed by police. Indeed, the rate of fatal shootings by police is remarkably consistent, averaging about 1,000 deaths per year. The rate at which African Americans are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans. Fatal police shootings have taken place in every state.

The ongoing protests of the police killing of George Floyd has predictably fostered a further eruption of police violence as police across the country have tear-gassed peaceful protesters, driven police vehicles through crowds, opened fire with rubber bullets on journalists and people on their own property. So the civilians’ rage against police violence has prompted law enforcement officers to escalate the unrest.

Police violence and murder in the United States cannot be separated from the context of racism and white supremacy that has been part of the country’s history and make up since its founding. The police in the North America and elsewhere were created to protect property and enforce repressive laws in the interest of maintaining interests advantaged by status quo inequalities, it has long been the norm for police to break up demonstrations of people advocating for civil rights or to attack trade unionists.

While the focus of protests in the US as well as in Canada have been in response to police violence and violence against black people there is the matter of the growing inequalities and inequities in everyday life. The coronavirus pandemic illustrates this as African Americans are dying from COVID19 at three times the rate of white people, as does continued lack of access to adequate health care for all Americans, the attack on women’s rights to make decisions about their own health, etc.

Then there is the largest bailout in the history of the US, USD 2trillion, which primarily protects the investor class and corporate interests, while 40 million workers are without jobs. The official US unemployment rate is now nearly 15%, the highest since records began. And most economists believe that the real figure is above 20%.

Documento:  President Trump is evidently a polarizing figure who is adding fuel to the fire, but it is evident that the American society as a whole is deeply fragmented and polarised.

EWR: The United States has long been a fragmented and deeply divided society. It is a country that has been built on slavery, racism, and white supremacy. The US Civil War, fought over slavery, begat continuing conflict over the racism and access to civil rights that has never been resolved. At the end of the First World War in 1919, Black Americans experienced the deadliest episode of races riots and lynching in US history. The apartheid society of the US continued to function well into the 1960s with de facto racial segregation continuing for years in housing and schools. The Black Lives Matter movement is a response to the cumulative impact of white supremacy and the longstanding fatal inequalities it produces.

Trump is certainly a polarizing figure and he added fuel to the fires with his ever increasing authoritarian and now clearly fascist rhetoric. At his political rallies and in his public statements Trump has offered encouragement and apologies for white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups. His remarks about  Unite the Right rally in Charlotteville, Virginia in 2017 were particularly flagrant. Trump’s approach has been to produce chaos and division rather than seek peace, reconciliation, solution to problems. By all accounts, his personal as well as domestic and foreign policy are at heart based upon bullying and authoritarianism and laced with ignorance and incompetence. This can be seen in his rhetoric regarding China and North Korea for example as well his characterization of US protesters as “terrorists,” his belligerent attitude toward state governors’ handling of the protests, his lack of empathy for 100,000+ coronavirus victims and his failure to manage pandemic.

Documento: What should we expect for the next day? Can these protests bring real change to the American society? Can a new political movement be born out of these protests? Or more is needed to bring change in an already established system?

It is absolutely possible for the current uprising to spawn a new political movement that leads to real change. It is possible, but not likely to produce systemic change. My pessimism for revolutionary change in the United States is because the vast majority of Americans see political conflicts through the lens of the two party system that dominates the political narrative. White there are some differences between the Trump’s Republican Party and the Democratic Party, particularly on social and cultural issues, both parties are supremely committed to the status quo, which is a view of the world that is defined by neoliberal capitalism and the extension and strengthening of empire. Both parties are driven by the interests of the corporate capitalism and of the super-rich. Despite the common rhetoric of the United States as a fountain of democracy and freedom, its politics is defined by economic-elite domination – the one percent and organized groups representing corporate interests have substantial independent impact on government policy. This is clearly illustrated in by the Trump administrations dismantling of environmental protections. Average citizens and mass-based groups have little influence on government policies. The protests illustrate the power of the people, but that power needs to coalesce in forms that are not coopted by either of the reigning political parties. The first step toward revolutionary change takes place in the mind. If there is change in the way people start to understand the world — such as rejecting the packaged ideological narratives of major corporate media  — then there will be a change in the way people behave. I am optimistic about what can be learned in the streets.

Call for Papers: The Labour of COVID section of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labour

Call for Papers: The Labour of COVID section of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labour

As instructors and students brace for a fall semester taught on-line, the effects of COVID on the labour of post-secondary learning continue to set in. Course outlines and assessment criteria are being reworked. Students wrestle with rising tuition and the prospects of prolonged periods of unemployment. As recent Canadian Association of University Teachers survey results suggest, the pandemic is making higher education even less tenable for current and prospective students. International students stuck in their home countries will be forced to participate in classes across time zones. Research programs are being put on hold. Making matters worse, the gutting of teaching and learning resources at some universities have forced administrators to piece together support for instructors and staff ill-equipped to make the transition on-line. Workloads have increased.  But in the midst of this crisis, some post-secondary institutions seek opportunity to advance particular agendas. It was only after significant backlash from students and lecturers that the UK’s Durham University halted its attempt at providing online-only degrees in its effort to significantly cut in-person teaching. In Alberta, the government has merely delayed a performance-based funding model as a result of COVID, signaling that austerity, not improving the quality of education, is driving policy decisions. Meaningful interventions by faculty associations have been limited as the collegial governance process is sidelined for the sake of emergency pandemic measures. And what of academic and support staff who face increase workloads and the prospects of limited child care when the fall semester resumes? To this concern, what are the gendered effects of COVID? What do these circumstances mean for precariously employed sessional and term instructors? This special edition of Workplace invites all academic workers to make sense of COVID through a work and employment lens. Possible themes include:

  • Faculty association responses to a shift towards on-line education
  • “Mission creep” and the lure of distant learning for post-secondary institutions: opportunities and threats
  • The gendered and racialized implications of COVID in the classroom and on campus
  • Implications for sessionals, adjuncts and the precariously employed
  • COVID and workplace accommodations: from child care to work refusals
  • Student experiences and responses
  • COVID and performance-based funding policies
  • COVID and the collective bargaining process
  • Internationalization and the COVID campus

Aim and Scope: Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor is a refereed, electronic, open access journal published by a collective of scholars in critical higher education promoting a new dignity in academic work. Contributions are aimed primarily at higher education workplace activism and dialogue on all issues of academic labour.

Invitations: Contributions from all ranks of academic workers – from tenured and tenure stream to graduate students, sessional instructors, contract faculty, and administrative support staff – are encouraged to submit.

Deadlines: Submissions will be considered for peer review and publications on a rolling basis. The final deadline is February 28, 2021. A complete volume of The Labour of COVID will be complete and made available in the spring of 2021. Formatting and submission guidelines can be found here

https://ices.library.ubc.ca/index.php/workplace/information/authors

Please direct questions about the special issue to Dr. Andrew Stevens at Andrew.stevens@uregina.ca

 

Call for a special issue of the Northwest Journal of Teacher Education, around the theme of “A Critical Reimagination of Teacher Education for Sustainable Social Justice in a Time of Crisis.”

Call for a special issue of the Northwest Journal of Teacher Education, around the theme of “A Critical Reimagination of Teacher Education for Sustainable Social Justice in a Time of Crisis.”

Special Issue Editors: Maika J. Yeigh, Portland State University and Richard D. Sawyer, Washington State University Vancouver.

The Northwest Journal of Teacher Education invites manuscripts for a special issue focused on critical responses to and reflections of teacher educators and students in the northwest United States and southwest Canada to the current COVID-19 crisis facing education. At a time when education is increasingly mediated by technology and online platforms and when the use of such platforms is perceived by many as a remedy if not a panacea for the crisis in education, many of us are deeply troubled by either real or potential issues facing teacher education and preparation programs. However, as a broad and diverse community of teacher educators, many of us are currently engaged in thoughts and actions to lessen threats to social justice or even reimagine and strengthen social justice foundations and dynamics in education. In this issue, we seek to present a collective yet pluralistic response to this crisis.

We invite 1,500 to 3,000 word manuscripts (although there may be exceptions to the length) in a range of genres and formats, including empirical studies, reflection pieces, position papers, auto/duoethnographies, dialogic essays, and/or arts-based (e.g. PhotoVoice) inquiries. The only specific requirement is that the manuscripts take a critical, social justice stance to teacher education at this time of the COVID-19 crisis.

Additional possible topics may include the following:

Indigenous pedagogies and teacher education/preparation

Identity more generally (K-12 student, teacher candidate, faculty members) and crisis education (e.g., isolation, reclaiming self, privileging/erasing identity, technology regulation of identity, various identity markers)

Culturally Sustainable Pedagogy

Truama (K-12 students, teacher candidates, faculty members)

Anti-trauma education

English Language Learners

EcoJustice Education

Neoliberalism and education (e.g., regulatory discourses, the role of ideology, the privatization of education)

Ability, access, and equity issues

The reimagination of education

The above topics are suggestions and we invite you to be creative with the manuscript call. The call is open to faculty members as well as graduate students.

Submission date: July 1, 2020, via the website for the Northwest Journal of Teacher Education: https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/nwjte/.  The projected publication date is late fall, 2020.

THE REGIMES OF TRUTH OF (GLOBAL) CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION

Event cancelled based on UBC recommendations regarding COVID-19.

Public Seminar
Institute for Critical Educational Studies

THE REGIMES OF TRUTH OF (GLOBAL) CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION

Marta Estellés, PhD
University of Cantabria (Spain)

Thursday, April 2, 2020
12:30 – 1:30 pm
University of British Columbia, Vancouver — Scarfe 1209

 Abstract

The aim of this presentation is to briefly problematize current ways of thinking and talking about (global) citizenship education. Citizenship is a process more than it is an attribute, since the concept has incorporated the main characteristics both of the political transformations experienced by the State and of the State’s relations with society. The successive battles for the definition of citizenship have an impact on that institution of socialization that is school. Examining the evolution of curricular prescriptions and orientations is enough to glimpse changes in the languages and frames through which certain relations between the individual, the community, and the State are naturalized.

The results of our research show that the two major cycles of socio-institutional restructuring in Western countries – from the crisis of the nineteenth-century liberal regimes to the present – have imposed different trends in relation to citizenship education in schools. The first cycle reached its culmination with the implementation of Welfare States after the Second World War. It was not a coincidence that the first major defense for democratic citizenship education appeared in this moment, with the reformist impulse that gave rise in 1916 to Social Studies in the US. The recognition of socio-economic rights and the formation of citizenship appeared inextricably linked in the texts of the reform, in an attempt to establish a new “regime of truth” that radically redefined the meaning of education for all, and not only for a privileged minority. This redefinition also implied a criticism of the patriotic and nationalistic purposes of education. This language, however, started to become blurred as neoliberal policies instituted their own frames in the 1980s with Reagan in the US and Thatcher in the UK. Citizenship education began to adopt the rhetoric of accountability with its emphasis on testing, performance levels, skills, etc. and the focus was on promoting responsible and active citizenship that clearly emphasized duties over rights. Thus, it began to be assumed that citizens should be responsible for their own well-being and not the State. Recent discourses on global citizenship education should be seen as heirs of this last redefinition. After all, global citizenship education “aims to empower learners to engage and assume active roles, both locally and globally, to face and resolve global challenges” (UNESCO, 2014, p. 15), assuming that the responsibility of solving those challenges lies with the individuals, not on governments or international organizations.

Marta Estellés, PhD, is Assistant Professor of the Department of Education at the University of Cantabria (Spain). Her research interests include citizenship education, social studies education, curriculum policies and teacher education. She has published several works on the intersectional field of democratic citizenship education and initial teacher education. She is currently working on a research project related to teachers’ political views and behaviors and their attitudes towards including controversial issues in the classroom. She is also part of the Fedicaria collective (http://www.fedicaria.org), which advocates for critical social studies education.

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Society, Democracy, and Economics: Challenges for Social Studies and Citizenship Education in a Neoliberal World

On February 20, 2020 I will be delivering the keynote address at the annual meeting of Gesellschaft für sozioökonomische Bildung und Wissenschaft (GSÖBW) / Society for Socio-Economic Education and Science in Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

In 1989, Francis Fukuyama declared the “end of history,” arguing the collapse of the Soviet Union, end of the Cold War, and universalization of liberal-democracy was the end point of the humankind’s ideological evolution. Since then we have witnessed a continued retreat of civil rights, a massive rise in inequality, and liberal-democracy has now delivered a string of illiberal authoritarian, nationalist leaders worldwide. Many analyses of right-wing populism are dualistic – creating a narrative of democracy against right-wing nationalism. Individualism is at the heart of classical liberalism and as such is the root of the democratic crisis that is represented by the contemporary rise of so-called populism. In this paper I explore national democracies and the relationship between bourgeois democracy and fascism. Given what we know about the state of democracy in the world today, is it even possible to teach for a democracy that is not dominated by capital? Do we want to teach for capitalist democracy? Is there an alternative? Is the concept of democracy bankrupt? Is democracy as a concept and practice even salvageable? If democracy is salvageable then teaching about and for democracy in contemporary times cannot be done without engaging the complexities and contradictions that have come to define what real existing (or non-existing) democracy is and its relationship with fascism and populism.

Keywords: populism, democracy, social studies education, citizenship education, neoliberalism, socio-economic education

The full text of the talk is available here: DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.23273.85600

Deadline extended for Critical Education Special Series on Transforming Unions, Schools & Society

DEADLINE EXTENDED:

Critical Education

Call for Manuscripts: Contemporary Educator Movements: Transforming Unions, Schools, and Society in North America

Special Series Editors:
Lauren Ware Stark, University of Virginia
Rhiannon Maton, State University of New York College at Cortland
Erin Dyke, Oklahoma State University

Call for Manuscripts:

Throughout the past two years, educators have led the most significant U.S. labor uprisings in over a quarter century, organizing alongside parents and community members for such common good demands as affordable health care, equitable school funding, and green space on school campuses (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019a; Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019b). These uprisings can be seen as evidence of the growth of a new form of unionism, alternately called social justice or social movement unionism (Fletcher & Gapasin, 2008; Peterson, 1999; Rottmann, 2013; Weiner, 2012). They can also be understood as evidence of contemporary educator movements: collective struggles that have developed throughout the past decade with the goal of transforming educators’ unions, schools, and broader society (Stark, 2019; Stern, Brown, & Hussain, 2016).

These struggles share much in common with other contemporary “movements of movements” (Sen, 2017) in that they develop in networks, utilize new technologies alongside traditional organizing tools, integrate diverse groups and demands, and often organize through horizontal, democratic processes (Juris, 2008; Wolfson, Treré, Gerbaudo, & Funke, 2017). They have been led by rank-and-file educators, who in many cases have organized in solidarity with parents and community members. While some recent scholarship on contemporary educator movements has conceptualized these movements as a unified class struggle (Blanc, 2019), other scholarship has emphasized heterogeneity, intersectionality, knowledge production, learning, and tensions within these movements (Maton, 2018; Stark, 2019).

This Critical Education special series builds on the latter tradition to offer “movement-relevant” scholarship written from within contemporary educator movements (Bevington & Dixon, 2005). Our aim for the series is to offer resources for contemporary educator movement organizers and scholars to:

  • understand the links between contemporary educator labor organizing and earlier struggles,
  • study tensions within this organizing,
  • explore how educator unionists are learning from each other’s work,
  • highlight urban and statewide education labor struggles in the U.S., as well as major struggles in Canada and Mexico, and
  • connect local education labor struggles to broader power structures.

Types of Submissions:

Specifically, we seek to include interviews with organizers, movement art, and empirical studies that engage critical and engaged qualitative methodologies (for example, autoethnographic, ethnographic, oral history, and/or participatory methodologies). We especially encourage submissions with and/or from rank-and-file education organizers.

  • Empirical research (4,000-8,000 words)
  • Interviews or dialogues with organizers (2,000-4,000 words)
  • Creative writing, including poems or short prose essays (<2,000 words; maximum three poems or one essay)
  • Art, including images of banner art and photographs (minimum 300dpi for images in .jpeg file format)

Examples of Possible Topics:

  • The significance of caucuses and/or labor-community organizing within a specific local context,
  • Challenges and possibilities for radical democratic or horizontal decision-making in contemporary educator movements,
  • Possibilities and challenges in transforming teacher unions to more radical entities,
  • Political education with and for rank-and-file educators,
  • Rank-and-file educator organizing to engage issues of race, indigeneity, language, and culture in education,
  • Issues of gender and/or sexuality in contemporary educator movements,
  • In-depth studies of rank-and-file educator-led campaigns and organizing experiences,
  • Tensions and possibilities between contemporary educator movements and specific North American social movements (i.e., climate justice movements, movements for decolonization, queer and trans liberation movements, prison abolition movements),
  • Critical whiteness studies and education labor organizing/movements,
  • Among others.

Timeline:

  • April 1, 2020 – Manuscript submissions due. (Note: Manuscripts will undergo a double blind peer review process. Invitation to submit a manuscript does not ensure publication.)
  • August 1, 2020 – Authors receive reviewer feedback and notification of publication decision (accept, accept with revisions, or reject for this particular series.)
  • September 1, 2020 – Manuscript revisions due.

Submission Instructions:

All submissions must follow the guidelines described here. Submissions should be maximum 8,000 words and use APA format (6th edition). All work must be submitted via the Critical Education submission platform.

Use this link to submit papers: http://ices.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions)

References:

Bevington, D., & Dixon, C. (2005). Movement-relevant theory. Social Movement Studies, 4(3), 185-208.Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019a, February 15). Major Work Stoppages (Annual) News Release. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/wkstp_02082019.htm

Blanc, E. (2019b). Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics. London & New York: Verso Books.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019b, March 07). Eight major work stoppages in educational services in 2018. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/eight-major-work-stoppages-in-educational-services-in-2018.htm

Fletcher, B., & Gapasin, F. (2008). Solidarity divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Juris, J. (2008). Networking Futures: The Movements Against Corporate Globalisation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Maton, R. (2018.) From Neoliberalism to Structural Racism: Problem Framing in a Teacher Activist Organization. Curriculum Inquiry, 48 (3): 1–23.

Peterson, B. (1999). Survival and justice: Rethinking teacher union strategy. In B. Peterson & M. Charney (Eds.) Transforming teacher unions: Fighting for better schools and social justice (pp. 11-19). Milwaukie, WI: Rethinking Schools.

Rottmann, C. (2013, Fall). Social justice teacher activism. Our Schools / Our Selves, 23 (1), 73-81.

Sen, J. (2017). The movements of movements: Part 1. Oakland, CA: PM Press; New Delhi: Open Word.

Stark, L. (2019). “We’re trying to create a different world”: Educator organizing in social justice caucuses (Doctoral dissertation).

Stern, M., Brown, A. E. & Hussain, K. (2016). Educate. Agitate. Organize: New and Not-So-New Teacher Movements. Workplace, 26, 1-4.

Weiner, L. (2012). The future of our schools: Teachers unions and social justice. Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books.

Wolfson, T., Treré, E., Gerbaudo, P., & Funke, P. N. (2017). From Global Justice to Occupy and Podemos: Mapping Three Stages of Contemporary Activism. TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique, 15(2), 390 – 542.

Sandra Mathison: Privatizing private schools should top list of funding changes

Published in The Province (Vancouver, BC)
October 9, 2019
Since 2013, the province has subsidized private schools to the tune of $2.6 billion. The subsidies for 2018-19 alone were $426 million, and projections for this school year are $436 million. Julia McKay / The Whig-Standard

Privatizing private schools should top list of funding changes

By Sandra Mathison

Opinion: With a public system still reeling from more than 15 years of cuts by the previous government, there is no excuse for funnelling billions of dollars to private schools.

As the B.C. education ministry rethinks how to fully and adequately fund the province’s schools, at the top of their list should be privatizing private schools by discontinuing public subsidies to independent schools.

Since 2013, the province has subsidized private schools to the tune of $2.6 billion. The subsidies for 2018-19 alone were $426 million, and projections for this school year are $436 million.

These subsidies to private schools have increased at an astronomical rate: funding increases (adjusted for inflation) to private schools have increased by 122.8 per cent since 2000-01, compared to a 15.9-per-cent increase in funding to public schools during this same period.

According to recent surveys by the Institute for Public Education, CUPE B.C. and the B.C. Humanist Association, most British Columbians believe public funding of private schools needs to end. In a poll that Insights West conducted for us in May, four in five British Columbians (78 per cent) oppose providing taxpayer funds for elite private schools. Sixty-nine per cent of British Columbians oppose funding to faith-based schools.

Let private schools be private, and let them deserve the label “independent schools.”

Private schools cost taxpayers by direct taxpayer-supported subsidies, but also by exemptions from paying property taxes, numerous personal tax benefits for individuals, and collecting large sums of tax-deductible donations.

Private schools also cost B.C. in non-economic ways. Faith-based schools are allowed to ignore human-rights laws and discriminate against employees based on marital status or sexual orientation. Our poll shows that few British Columbians are aware that faith-based schools are exempted from the B.C. Human Rights Code, but once they were aware of this, 81 per cent of respondents did not believe they should be allowed this exemption.

Let private schools be private, and let them deserve the label “independent schools.”

Private school admission processes segregate students by class and/or beliefs, rejecting students who don’t “fit” their values. These schools are therefore isolating students from peers who are not like them. Many B.C. taxpayers’ children would not be admitted to these private schools — because they can’t afford them, do not have academic credentials, or they are not suitable given the school’s philosophy.

Private schools reject the idea that schools ought to be about equity, about providing an education for all students regardless of their individual attributes.

If the education ministry needs a plan, they could immediately end subsidies to elite “Group 2” schools, those spending more per student than public schools and charging significant tuition fees. These are schools such as St. George’s in Vancouver and Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island.

Then they could phase out subsidies to faith-based schools over a short period of time, say two to three years.

The ministry should review private schools that serve needs not currently well met by the public schools (possibly, Indigenous schools and programs for students with special needs) and work toward integrating those schools/programs into the public education system. They should ensure there is sufficient funding provided to public schools to meet those needs.

And at the same time, tax exemptions that diminish revenue that could support public education need to change.

With a public school system still reeling from more than 15 years of cuts by the previous government, and students with special needs bearing the brunt of the underfunding, there is no excuse for funnelling billions of dollars to private schools. That money should be allocated to the public school system where it can help every child achieve their fullest potential.

Sandra Mathison is the executive director of the Institute for Public Education B.C., a professor of education at the University of B.C., and co-director of the Institute for Critical Education.

Call for Manuscripts: Contemporary Educator Movements: Transforming Unions, Schools, and Society in North America

Call for Manuscripts: Contemporary Educator Movements: Transforming Unions, Schools, and Society in North America (Deadline extended to Aug 1, 2020)

Critical Education

Special Series Editors:

Lauren Ware Stark, University of Virginia
Rhiannon Maton, State University of New York College at Cortland
Erin Dyke, Oklahoma State University

Call for Manuscripts:

Throughout the past two years, educators have led the most significant U.S. labor uprisings in over a quarter century, organizing alongside parents and community members for such common good demands as affordable health care, equitable school funding, and green space on school campuses (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019a; Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019b). These uprisings can be seen as evidence of the growth of a new form of unionism, alternately called social justice or social movement unionism (Fletcher & Gapasin, 2008; Peterson, 1999; Rottmann, 2013; Weiner, 2012). They can also be understood as evidence of contemporary educator movements: collective struggles that have developed throughout the past decade with the goal of transforming educators’ unions, schools, and broader society (Stark, 2019; Stern, Brown, & Hussain, 2016).

These struggles share much in common with other contemporary “movements of movements” (Sen, 2017) in that they develop in networks, utilize new technologies alongside traditional organizing tools, integrate diverse groups and demands, and often organize through horizontal, democratic processes (Juris, 2008; Wolfson, Treré, Gerbaudo, & Funke, 2017). They have been led by rank-and-file educators, who in many cases have organized in solidarity with parents and community members. While some recent scholarship on contemporary educator movements has conceptualized these movements as a unified class struggle (Blanc, 2019), other scholarship has emphasized heterogeneity, intersectionality, knowledge production, learning, and tensions within these movements (Maton, 2018; Stark, 2019).

This Critical Education special series builds on the latter tradition to offer “movement-relevant” scholarship written from within contemporary educator movements (Bevington & Dixon, 2005). Our aim for the series is to offer resources for contemporary educator movement organizers and scholars to:

  • understand the links between contemporary educator labor organizing and earlier struggles,
  • study tensions within this organizing,
  • explore how educator unionists are learning from each other’s work,
  • highlight urban and statewide education labor struggles in the U.S., as well as major struggles in Canada and Mexico, and
  • connect local education labor struggles to broader power structures.

Types of Submissions:

Specifically, we seek to include interviews with organizers, movement art, and empirical studies that engage critical and engaged qualitative methodologies (for example, autoethnographic, ethnographic, oral history, and/or participatory methodologies). We especially encourage submissions with and/or from rank-and-file education organizers.

  • Empirical research (4,000-8,000 words)
  • Interviews or dialogues with organizers (2,000-4,000 words)
  • Creative writing, including poems or short prose essays (<2,000 words; maximum three poems or one essay)
  • Art, including images of banner art and photographs (minimum 300dpi for images in .jpeg file format)

Examples of Possible Topics:

  • The significance of caucuses and/or labor-community organizing within a specific local context,
  • Challenges and possibilities for radical democratic or horizontal decision-making in contemporary educator movements,
  • Possibilities and challenges in transforming teacher unions to more radical entities,
  • Political education with and for rank-and-file educators,
  • Rank-and-file educator organizing to engage issues of race, indigeneity, language, and culture in education,
  • Issues of gender and/or sexuality in contemporary educator movements,
  • In-depth studies of rank-and-file educator-led campaigns and organizing experiences,
  • Tensions and possibilities between contemporary educator movements and specific North American social movements (i.e., climate justice movements, movements for decolonization, queer and trans liberation movements, prison abolition movements),
  • Critical whiteness studies and education labor organizing/movements,
  • Among others.

Timeline:

  • August 1, 2020 – Manuscript submissions due. (Note: Manuscripts will undergo a double blind peer review process. Invitation to submit a manuscript does not ensure publication.)
  • December 1, 2020 – Authors receive reviewer feedback and notification of publication decision (accept, accept with revisions, or reject for this particular series.)
  • January 1, 2020 – Manuscript revisions due.

Submission Instructions:

All submissions must follow the guidelines described here. Submissions should be maximum 8,000 words and use APA format (6th edition). All work must be submitted via the Critical Education submission platform.

Use this link to submit papers: http://ices.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions)

References:

Bevington, D., & Dixon, C. (2005). Movement-relevant theory. Social Movement Studies, 4(3), 185-208.Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019a, February 15). Major Work Stoppages (Annual) News Release. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/wkstp_02082019.htm

Blanc, E. (2019b). Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics. London & New York: Verso Books.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019b, March 07). Eight major work stoppages in educational services in 2018. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/eight-major-work-stoppages-in-educational-services-in-2018.htm

Fletcher, B., & Gapasin, F. (2008). Solidarity divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Juris, J. (2008). Networking Futures: The Movements Against Corporate Globalisation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Maton, R. (2018.) From Neoliberalism to Structural Racism: Problem Framing in a Teacher Activist Organization. Curriculum Inquiry, 48 (3): 1–23.

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