One would expect that the general media with their vast resources of reporters and informed sources would provide up-to-date valid and reliable assessments of critical issues confronting our schools. Unfortunately, information for too many newspaper and TV news stories is drawn from the same group of "experts" who remain on the reporter's Rolodex file because their points of view are predictable.
When modest levels of empowerment do occur in the present social structures in the United States, it is restricted to various levels of status within the victimized group(s). In the present circumstances of nationally controlled discourse, empowerment cannot occur beyond the social boundaries of victimized groups. The role of educators has to start in the early grades to expand the number of ways that students can confront issues from any perspective they are able to identify and define.
Such a critical consciousness should provide a continual critique of our own work. In the department of Early Childhood Education at the institution where I work, I pointed out to the teaching faculty that a primary text being used referred to African Americans solely within the context of poverty and single parent families. This restrictively framed image of Black families could set in motion a series of expectations that will negatively frame university students' approach to work when they become teachers.
The framers of media and institutional discourse control the marketplace and the academy. Until profitability and media ratings respond to the current shaping of discourse that separates affected groups from the forum, resources and policy will be directed toward leaving things as they are, and barriers to inclusive discourse will not be lowered. This will continue to obscure potentials for national dialogue about the social and political context that articulate issues of race, gender, and social class.
From personalized experiences all children share the behaviors of their country, their family and their neighborhood. These behaviors maintain a critical role in shaping their values as they mature into adulthood. The cliché that one cannot go home again is only partially true because our country, our neighborhood, and our family will always remain a part of who we are.
Adorno T. W., Frankel-Brunswik E., Levinson D. J., and Sanford R. N. ( 1950). The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper and Row.
Allport G. W. ( 1936). Personality: A Psychological Interpretation