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On May 20, 2010, at 1:06 PM, Norma J F Harrison <normaha@...
> Well, if you're satisfied that the segregated - by age, mainly -
> indoctrination structure that is school is education, then I guess
> you can draw the abortive conclusions about what I've said, that you
> Just because people have been driven this far by our Owners doesn't
> mean it's a 'working class' movement, that it's not elitist,
> centered as the work is on people with jobs and largely with more
> advanced educations. You can call it that, but that doesn't make it
> People you're talking to have been so driven from first sources,
> first thoughts, radical views, that even this effort - the effort by
> teachers and others to keep their jobs, colored with the usual
> insubstantial phrases suggesting improvements to - reform of -
> 'education', ...this effort backs off of looking at the smash-the-
> state work that needs to be viewed in order to begin to work toward
> what's necessary, what we like, what can work to further the work
> for that 'new world'.
> People have been permitted, because of our Owners' incessant and
> super successful attacks on any efforts we might make to find ways
> to live together pleasantly, securely, ...people have been permitted
> only to try to remediate the worst of the ills. School identifies
> us all as needing remediation. We are unsatisfactory - from pre-
> school on. School is not about seeing us perfect - which we really
> are - or at least, we're all fine. Except for people who've been
> seriously broken by the system we live in. They too need a wholly
> different care from what we've been allowed to offer.
> Many people have attained respected status by putting forward the
> tired ideas rephrased. People put forward ideas purportedly
> describing the learning process, the behavior of people at certain
> ages, so on. Consider that all of these need the round file. We
> don't have a clue , except that people do learn a bunch of stuff...
> no formula of what works. It just does. That's what needs to be
> recognized as the basis for us to deal with education.
> Educe - that's what we want to do, educe and amplify because we like
> the knowledge/skill/interchange; not because it's 'compulsory
> education'. We want to hang around with people we care to be with
> to do stuff we want and need to do, including go for a walk or sit
> around or play ball or the piano or make a table leg or clean a
> floor in the health care facility or do brain surgery or find the
> end of pi.
> Striving, succeeding, excelling - these are all BAD, in the present
> capitalist environment. Nevertheless, we are all students and
> teachers all our lives. Commodifying teaching, enforcing student-
> ship wrongly... these are school.
> ----- Original Message ----From: "jcrawfor@..."
> jcrawfor@... To: Norma J F Harrison <normaha@...>; CCDS
> <members@...-ds.org>; March 4th Action <march4thaction@...
> >; "WCCWestContraCosta "education"" firstname.lastname@example.org Sent:
> Tue, April 20, 2010 5:35:12 PM Subject: Re: [CCDS Members] Fw: a
> dream of a teacher
> Pardon me for saying so, but this diatribe of yours is both elitist
> in itself and poorly substantiated by your lack of experience in the
> field. Do you even know who Giroux is? Don't you think he
> understands how desperate things are?
> I'm a member of the Radical Caucus of MLA, and we're pushing
> meetings of post-secondary teachers at all levels for the January
> 2011 convention in Los Angeles. There are real opportunities for
> teachers in higher education coming together at this point--from
> adjuncts to tenured--to mount a serious program to reverse what's
> been happening for the last decade in particular, and it's already
> reflected in campus protests by both students and teachers around
> the country. Fueled by protests from the two-year campuses and four-
> year state colleges, it's much more of a working class movement than
> we ever had in the Sixties.
> Your ultra-leftist attack on education as a tool of our "Owners" not
> only isn't exactly news, it's drenched with bitterness and actually
> ignores current issues with its pessimistic, non-struggle attitude.
> Get with it, Norma.
> John Crawford
> --On Tuesday, April 20, 2010 4:46 PM -0700 Norma J F Harrison <normaha@...
> > wrote:
> Is this what you've thought of your experience with teachers -
> many? any? in your past? I certainly didn't. ...even if any of
> them was what is described here.
> That's why I've come to see it's the school situation that subverts
> learning and teaching. Even in the rare instance when a teacher is
> as able as this says, of having this kind of exchange in the
> classroom or in the school at all, it is a rarity, if it happens at
> all. This no way contradicts my agreement that teachers, teaching,
> etc are under increased attack; they always have been, moreso now,
> as all our victories winning public care are being retrieved by our
> Owners, as our socialist communist comrades have long told us they
> need to be in capitalism.
> They've actually been under attack solely because our Owners fear
> us knowing - and school, by various methods, almost always beyond
> the classroom, allows for association that can become influence and
> organizing for significant change. Think of the attacks on school
> being like the prohibition of conversation on the factory line.
> When I studied to teach, and taught elementary - 1st-8th grades, I
> had to learn how to and follow a curriculum guide. I foolishly
> thought I was supposed to enter MY proposals for what to engage in
> in the classroom into the blank spaces of the daily planner. I got
> fired a lot.
> I went to school - having those dulling experiences - from 1940 -
> 1953. I couldn't function when I got to the U.C. - Chicago. I
> found someone to marry! much earlier than I'd thought I would when I
> was 7.
> This writer offers a dream of teaching - having little to nothing to
> do with teaching in the confined place of school. There was a time
> when much of these could be said about a bit of work at the college
> level, even here and there in the high school. I haven't been in a
> long time so I can't adequately describe the general tendency to
> reduce the analytical experience. However, having read Doonesbury
> for years, I get the idea that thinking and exchange are limited at
> the university. I did have some thoughty schooling at Jr. College
> - in about 1960. If I'd been able to understand what was going on
> when I was at U.C. in 1954-5, that would have been something like
> the top-notch experiences this writer has called school/teaching.
> The requirement for good teaching - besides being permitted to do
> it, is to be in the environment with a person/people who work/s at
> doing what they teach - writers, mathematicians, construction
> engineers, civil workers maintaining the city, etc. - these are who
> should carry their passion to others - who OPT to learn to do it.
> I repeat, we've let remediation take over education. And in fear of
> Black and female equality, of equality of people who are poor or
> come to school without traditional educational background, ...in
> fear of us mass rising, content has been filtered; reductions of it
> are constant, until now we have this absurd experience - that
> students leave - be truant from - as much as they can get away
> with! And people graduate with limited knowledge to go on to teach
> or otherwise share their schooled experience, shallow as it is, with
> others in society. Not to say all products of advanced study are
> similarly empty-headed. Some very bright people are turned out of
> upper echelon institutions. This often is the elite, who will serve
> or run the status quo system.
> Fortunately, it's also often us, the many people who have challenged
> this mind-emptying experience. We live among the few and
> knowledgeable activists in the U.S. Norma
> ----- Forwarded Message ---- From: ........ To: Norma J F Harrison
> normaha@...: Tue, April 20, 2010 2:54:00 AM Subject: a
> dream of a teacher
> In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis - Henry
> up's picture" src="http://www.freireproject.org/files/pictures/picture-2366.jpg
> " width=46 height=48> Posted Wed, 04/14/2010 - 14:22 by up-and-up
> Wednesday, April 14, 2010
> There has been a long, though declining, tradition in the United
> States in which public school teaching was embraced as an important
> public service. It was assumed that teachers provided a crucial
> foundation for educating young people in the values, skills and
> knowledge that enabled them to be critical citizens capable of
> shaping and expanding democratic institutions. Since the 1980s,
> teachers have been under an unprecedented attack by those forces
> that view schools less as a public good than as a private right.
> Seldom accorded the status of intellectuals that they deserved, they
> remain the most important component in the learning process for
> students, while serving as a moral compass to gauge how seriously a
> society invests in its youth and in the future. Yet, teachers are
> being deskilled, unceremoniously removed from the process of school
> governance, largely reduced to technicians or subordinated to the
> authority of security guards. Underlying these
> transformations are a number of forces eager to privatize schools,
> substitute vocational training for education and reduce teaching and
> learning to reductive modes of testing and evaluation.
> Indications of the poisonous transformation of both the role of the
> public school and the nature of teacher work abound. The passage of
> laws promoting high-stakes testing for students and the use of test
> scores to measure teacher quality have both limited the autonomy of
> teacher authority and devalued the possibility of critical teaching
> and visionary goals for student learning. Teachers are no longer
> asked to think critically and be creative in the classroom. On the
> contrary, they are now forced to simply implement predetermined
> instructional procedures and standardized content, at best; and, at
> worst, put their imaginative powers on hold while using precious
> classroom time to teach students how to master the skill of test
> taking. Subject to what might be labeled as a form of bare or
> stripped-down pedagogy, teachers are removed from the processes of
> deliberation and reflection, reduced to implementing lock-step, time-
> on-task pedagogies that do great
> violence to students, while promoting a division of labor between
> conception and execution hatched by bureaucrats and "experts" from
> mainly conservative foundations. Questions regarding how teachers
> motivate students, make knowledge meaningful in order to make it
> critical and transformative, work with parents and the larger
> community or exercise the authority needed to become a constructive
> pedagogical force in the classroom and community are now sacrificed
> to the dictates of an instrumental rationality largely defined
> through the optic of measurable utility. Little is said in this
> discourse about allocating more federal dollars for public
> schooling, replacing the aging infrastructures of schooling or
> increasing salaries so as to expand the pool of qualified teachers.
> Nor are teachers praised for their public service, the trust we in
> part to them in educating our children or the firewall they provide
> between a culture saturated in violence and idiocy
> and the civilizing and radical imaginative possibilities of an
> educated mind capable of transforming the economic, political and
> racial injustices that surround and bear down so heavily on public
> schools. Instead, teachers are stripped of their worth and dignity
> by being forced to adopt an educational vision and philosophy that
> has little respect for the empowering possibilities of either
> knowledge or critical classroom practices. Put bluntly, knowledge
> that can't be measured is viewed as irrelevant, and teachers who
> refuse to implement a standardized curriculum and evaluate young
> people through objective measures of assessments are judged as
> incompetent or disrespectful. Any educator who believes that
> students should learn more than how to obey the rules, take tests,
> learn a work skill or adopt without question the cruel and harsh
> market values that dominate society "will meet," as James Baldwin
> insists in his "Talk to Teachers," "the most fantastic,
> the most brutal and the most determined resistance."And while the
> mythic character of education has always been at odds with its
> reality, as Baldwin noted in talking about the toxic education
> imposed on poor black children, the assault on public schooling in
> its current form truly suggests that "we are living through a very
> dangerous time."
> As the space of public schooling ...(see the site)
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