Presence of Mind: Education and the Politics of Deception

Presence of Mind: Education and the Politics of Deception

Presence of Mind: Education and the Politics of Deception

Presence of Mind: Education and the Politics of Deception

Synopsis

Widely misunderstood & misinterpreted at its most basic level, critical pedagogy provides a lens through which educators & students are better able to examine & interact with the real, underlying power relationships that structure our world. Taking up the ever-shifting cultural & political landscape in the United States, Presence of Mind addresses how power manifests itself within & across different social & educational terrain &, covering a number of contemporary topics & polemics that are central to teaching educational theory & practice. Pepi Leistyna argues that it is imperative that both students & teachers take ownership of educational practice by developing theoretical frameworks that historically & socially situate the deeply embedded roots of racism, discrimination, violence, & disempowerment in this country to better understand their roles as educators & citizens.

Excerpt

These are hard times for educators and advocates of democratic schooling. Besieged by the growing forces of vocationalism and the culture wars, prospective and existing classroom teachers are caught in an ideological crossfire regarding the civic and political responsibilities they assume through their roles as engaged critics and cultural theorists. Asked to define themselves either through the language of the marketplace or through a discourse that abstracts the political from the realm of the cultural or the sphere of the social, educators are increasingly being pressured to become either servants of corporate power or disengaged specialists wedded to the imperatives of a resurgent and debasing academic professionalism. These two positions demand further elaboration.

According to right-wing advocates of school-business partnerships, schools should be viewed as a private rather than a public good, tied to the dictates of the marketplace and run just like any other business. For many who support this position, schools should either be turned over to for-profit corporations -- exercising complete control over their organization, curricula, and classroom practices -- or organized through strategies that favor educational choice, vouchers, and private charter schools. Within the language of privatization and market reforms, there is a strong emphasis on standards, measurements of outcomes, and holding teachers and students more accountable. Privatization is an appealing prospect for legislators who do not want to spend money on schools and for those Americans who do not want to support public education through increased taxes. Such appeals are reductive in nature . . .

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