May 17, 2009

Who's Teaching the Teachers?

A couple of recent articles on the state of the nation's education schools....

Charlotte Allen attended the convention of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) , where she observed Bill Ayers and his colleagues in the education school establishment. While there are rays of hope in what she saw there, for the most part it's a pretty dreary picture she paints of the constructivists, Marxists and self-appointed social activists who control the ed-school training of our nation's teachers. - 'Why Can't a Girl Have a Penis?'

And Sol Stern at City Journal examines the ed-school fascination with one particular book...

Since the publication of the English edition in 1970, Pedagogy of the Oppressed has achieved near-iconic status in America’s teacher-training programs. In 2003, David Steiner and Susan Rozen published a study examining the curricula of 16 schools of education—14 of them among the top-ranked institutions in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report—and found that Pedagogy of the Oppressed was one of the most frequently assigned texts in their philosophy of education courses. These course assignments are undoubtedly part of the reason that, according to the publisher, almost 1 million copies have sold, a remarkable number for a book in the education field.

The odd thing is that Freire’s magnum opus isn’t, in the end, about education—certainly not the education of children. Pedagogy of the Oppressed mentions none of the issues that troubled education reformers throughout the twentieth century: testing, standards, curriculum, the role of parents, how to organize schools, what subjects should be taught in various grades, how best to train teachers, the most effective way of teaching disadvantaged students. This ed-school bestseller is, instead, a utopian political tract calling for the overthrow of capitalist hegemony and the creation of classless societies. Teachers who adopt its pernicious ideas risk harming their students—and ironically, their most disadvantaged students will suffer the most.

Posted by dan at May 17, 2009 9:53 PM