The UAH Education Department hosted the Huntsville Education Summit entitled “BridginGaps and Opening Doors” yesterday. Other than the intentional, edgy, silly spelling of “bridging gaps” (see how the “G” bridges the gap!), what really sets me off is that the keynote speaker is a Marxist.
Yes, I know that I make up words and intentionally misspell words at times, but then, I’m not an “educator”…
As for Dr. Ron Glass (who is not the fabulous actor) being a Marxist, look at who he proudly refers to as his “mentors”: ”two of the premier educators for justice and democracy the world has ever known, Paulo Freire and Myles Horton. I hope my own work keeps alive their spirit, their ideas, and their commitment to making this a better world for everyone.”
Freire wrote “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and inspired The Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy:
The Freire Project is dedicated to building an international critical community which works to promote social justice in a variety of cultural contexts. We are committed to conducting and sharing critical research in social, political, and educational locations.
The project promotes research in Critical Pedagogy, and brings together local and international educators. We are committed to continuing the global development of Critical Pedagogy and to highlighting its relevance with marginalized and indigenous peoples…
Critical Pedagogy is a domain of education and research that studies the social, cultural, political, economic, and cognitive dynamics of teaching and learning. Critical Pedagogy emphasizes the impact of power relationships in the educational process.
Of interest to me was the listing of Antonio Gramsci as one of the “Important Figures” in the critical pedagogy movement. If you’ve ever wondered how we got here (failing schools), thank Gramsci:
In his theory of hegemony Gramsci argued that in modern industrial societies, it was also necessary to control culture. Culture is controlled not by way of coercive force but through the winning of consent…
This elevation of the importance of culture, Gramsci argued, also increased the need for intellectuals in modern societies. Organic intellectuals, Gramsci wrote, are individuals who resist hegemony and help bring their fellow citizens a sense of historical consciousness of themselves and the society. These organic intellectuals were to be distinguished from traditional intellectuals, Gramsci concluded, whose charge is to maintain existing power relations, to create and deliver sanitized information that supports the existing hegemonic order. One can quickly discern how important Gramsci’s work is for the evolution of critical theory and especially for critical pedagogy.
You see, traditional methods of teaching were tools to oppress “individuals whose economic interests were not served by free market policies”.
Myles Horton founded the Highlander School (and that’s enough said about his Marxism).
Read about some of Glass’ published works while you’re checking him out and you’ll see that it’s not just his “mentors” that reveal his ideology.
Crystal Bonvillian of The Huntsville Times wrote “Need for partnership with community a hot topic at education summit”:
Since the early 1980s, school reform has been more about social mobility and social efficiency, Glass said, adding that educators need to be able to focus more on setting strong standards of learning and less on testing their students…
“It’s easy to look at the students in front of us and test them,” Glass said. “But maybe we’re looking in the wrong place.”
The right place to look, he indicated, is into the community. If educators look into their community and help to solve the needs of it and individual families, then student achievement will rise.
Glass said educators need to align their innovations with the needs of the family and the community, mobilizing all possible resources to do so. That includes social, cultural and health resources.
“Is our children learning?”
You already know the answer to that question. The more time “educators” spend on “social mobility” and “social efficiency”, the less time they’re teaching math and science. Do the Chinese who own your mortgage care about “marginalized” peoples?
I cannot adequately express my disappointment at UAH for expecting anything good to come from people who think like that. However, I remind myself that it -is- the Education Department… Let’s remind them of the true history of Marxism – tens of millions of people dead and hundreds of millions of people enslaved and impoverished.
To the local educational community – this is not the way to gain my trust (or my tax dollars)…