Critical Revolutionary Pedagogy and the Politics of Education
First posted on the Verum Serum blog on December 15, 2009 at 10:30 am
[Morgen: Geoffrey is a regular commenter who we invited to post on occasion, based on his depth of analysis and clear writing ability. The ground war over the future of our nation’s values is being waged in our school systems, and people like Bill Ayers are generals in this war. As they are wont to do, they mask their philosophies and strategies under the cloak of academic research and arcane terminology. Geoffrey’s piece is a great primer on the core of liberal (socialist) strategy to subvert the education of our children.]
The motivational and foundational philosophical theorems of the American Left’s political, social and educational views are ‘Critical Pedagogy’ theory and ‘Cultural Marxism’. Bill Ayers is simply an influential, ‘celebrity’ advocate of these ideologies.
The Critical Pedagogy Movement is coming to a school near you and it means to change the world.
One child at a time.
Most people have never heard the term, ‘Critical Pedagogy’. That is intentional.
Anyone not involved in the educational community would have little reason to be aware of this leftist theory of education. If it were merely a theory however, there would be little reason for concern.
The primary assumption of critical pedagogy is that disparities between individual and social group outcomes in life are due to entrenched societal oppression. So, if anyone or any group has ‘more’ than another it is because they are either oppressing others or benefiting from the ‘oppression of the masses’.
Thus, all whites benefit from an unjust social system and, as a result are inherently guilty of racism.
Advocates implicitly deny any definition of the ‘pursuit of happiness’, which does not result in equality of outcome. That necessarily limits American’s liberty and their pursuit of happiness to the politically correct calculus of Critical Pedagogy theory.
Pedagogy is defined as ‘the art or profession of teaching’. That definition is sometimes shortened by advocates into ‘the teaching’. The theory of critical pedagogy was first fully developed and then popularized in 1968 by the Brazilian educator and influential theorist Paulo Freire. His seminal work, the Pedagogy [The Teaching] of the Oppressed, was highly influential within the US leftist academic community and in 1969 Freire was offered a visiting professorship at Harvard University.
His subsequent work was highly influential with the Bill Ayers of the world. One might think of Paulo Freire as the Saul Alinsky of the US leftist educational community. Critical Pedagogy is the educational arm of the ‘social justice movement’, which is the political arm of “liberation theology”, all of which are aspects of ‘Cultural Marxism’.
Some of the basic tenets of critical pedagogy are:
- ALL education is inherently political…
- A social and educational vision of justice and equality should be the foundation for all education
- Race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and physical ability are important domains of oppression
- The purpose of education is the alleviation of oppression and human suffering
- Schools must not hurt students–good schools don’t blame students for their failures
- Good schools don’t judge the beliefs students have about their life’s experiences
- Part of the role of any educator involves becoming a researcher into social oppression
- Education must promote emancipatory change
Sixteen of the top educational schools in America are heavily influenced by Critical Pedagogy and are shaping the future leaders of our educational system. This belief system is now spreading out of the colleges into our K-12 systems and being promulgated by radical teachers as its ‘agents of change’.
It’s a well-organized, widespread movement, firmly entrenched in many Universities and its advocates are actively seeking to spread it worldwide.
Thus, most recently in Minnesota the agenda of radical teacher education came to light; The University of Minnesota redesigns teachers. Here is what the Univ. of Minnesota’s new teacher certification program requires:
Students are required to adopt “race, culture, class and gender” identity politics in order to be recommended for a teaching license.
Students must accept that teachers’ lack of “cultural competence” is a major reason for many minority students performing poorly in Minnesota schools.
All prospective teachers have to meet 14 “outcomes”, as well as “assessment” methods to assure they had achieved the outcomes. The first outcome is typical: “Future teachers will be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, hetero-normativity, and internalized oppression.” [Think carefully upon that terminology, it’s quite revealing]
Other highlights deserve attention:
“Future teachers accept that they are privileged or marginalized depending on context.”
“Future teachers will recognize & demonstrate understanding of white privilege.”
“Future teachers are able to explain how institutional racism works in schools”
“Future teachers can construct and articulate a sophisticated and nuanced critical analysis of [the American Dream]…. In pursuing this analysis, students will make use of…the following:
Myth of meritocracy in the United States
The historical use of scientific racism to justify assumptions of fixed mental capacity
History of demands for assimilation to white, middle-class, Christian values
History of white racism, with special focus on current colorblind ideology
Students are evaluated and graded on whether they conform to the “race, class, gender” agenda. They must, for example, write a “self-discovery paper” in which they “describe their own ethno-cultural background.” They must describe their own prejudices and stereotypes, question their “cultural” motives for wishing to become teachers, and take two “cultural intelligence”-type assessments. They are graded (for example) on “the extent to which they find intrinsic satisfaction” in “cross-cultural interactions.”
Students must not only demonstrate changed thinking — they must become activists. They must learn that schools are “critical sites for social and cultural transformation.” One outcome reads: “Future teachers create & fight for social justice even if only in the classroom”
Future teachers are required to subscribe to the prescribed ideology, “Every faculty member at our university that trains our teachers must comprehend and commit to the centrality of race, class, culture, and gender issues in teaching and learning, and then frame their teaching and course foci accordingly.”
The goal of critical pedagogy is social transformation, which is the product of the practice of social ‘justice’ at the collective level. Social transformation is accomplished through indoctrination of the young, leading to social transformation of the larger society as succeeding generations inculcate the ‘lessons of awareness’ transmitted to them by their ‘teachers’.
Teachers are urged not to mince words with children about the evils of the existing social order. They should portray “homelessness as a consequence of the private dealings of landlords, an arms buildup as a consequence of corporate decisions, racial exclusion as a consequence of a private property-holder’s choice.” In other words, they should turn the little ones into young socialists and critical theorists.
Young, impressionable children are no longer being taught to feel good about being Americans. Their schools teachers, who traditionally embody socially approved values, are teaching them to be ashamed of being Americans.
Spreading out from the schools that teach our teachers, this ideology is being inculcated into our nation’s K-12 schools and is anti-American in the most profound meaning of the term. It is a movement that is teaching future generations that capitalism and traditional American values are intrinsically evil.
Critical pedagogy and its advocates, in their vehement antipathy toward capitalism, private property and traditional American values amount to a classic fifth subversive column, no less dangerous to freedom than Communism. Its advocates are seeking to transform western societies by covertly indoctrinating our young, through an essentially clandestine and subversive transformation of its culture.
Cultural Marxism is the primary strategy of the American Left.
Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci posited that what holds a society together are the pillars of its culture: the structures and institutions of education, family, law, media and religion, as they provide the social cohesion necessary to a healthy functional society. Transform the principles that these embody and you can destroy the society they have shaped.
His seminal thinking was taken up by Sixties radicals, many of whom are, of course, the generation that holds power in the West today. Bill Ayers is most certainly an agent of Gramsi’s agenda and there is a high likelihood that Barack Obama is a covert advocate of Cultural Marxism as well. He cannot, as President, act directly in pursuit of its agenda but viewed in the light of advocacy, many of his actions make perfect sense. That so many of his ‘Czar’ appointments are radicals certainly supports that assertion.
Gramsci believed that a society could be overthrown, if the values underpinning it could be turned into their antithesis: if its core principles were replaced by those of groups who were considered to be outsiders or who actively transgressed the moral codes of that society.
So he advocated a ‘long march through the institutions’ to capture the citadels of the culture and turn them into a collective fifth column, undermining from within and turning all the core values of society upside-down and inside-out.
This strategy is being carried out to the letter.
The nuclear family has been widely shattered. Illegitimacy was transformed from a stigma into a ‘right’. The tragic disadvantage of fatherless ‘families’ was redefined as a neutrally viewed ‘lifestyle choice’. So much so that many now assert the belief that, children do not need either a mother or a father, only the loving support of a ‘caring’ adult.
Education was wrecked, with its core tenet of transmitting a culture to successive generations, replaced by the idea that what children already knew was of superior value to anything the adult world might offer.
The outcome of this ‘child-centered’ approach has been widespread illiteracy and ignorance and an eroded capacity for independent thought.
The ‘rights agenda’, commonly known as ‘political correctness’ turned morality inside out, by excusing any misdeeds by self-designated ‘victim’ groups on the grounds that ‘victims’ can’t be held responsible for what they do. Law and order were similarly undermined, with criminals deemed to be beyond punishment since they also were ‘victims’ of what was asserted to be an inherently ‘unjust’ society.
Radical feminists, anti-racism and gay ‘rights’ thus turned men, white people and especially Christians (as the foremost advocates of foundational western values) into the enemies of decency. An offensive strategy of neutralization designed to keep western society’s advocates on the defensive by essentially categorizing them as “guilty until proven innocent”.
This ‘Through The Looking Glass’ mindset rests on the belief that the world is divided into the powerful (who are responsible for all bad things) and the oppressed (who are responsible for none of them).
This is pure Marxist doctrine.
That doctrine inevitably forms a totalitarian mindset that abhors dissent. Thus, the ‘science’ supporting ‘Global Warming’ is ‘settled”. Opposition to Obama’s policies is declared to be motivated by inherent racism and resistance to ‘Obamacare’ is equated to prior generations resistance to ending slavery. Intolerance toward Christians opposed to gay ‘marriage’ and the vilification as ‘racists’ of any opposed to illegal immigration is rationalized, justified and condoned.
This leftist mindset has led to the belief that a sense of nationhood is the cause of much of the world ills. So transnational institutions such as the EU, the UN and, doctrines supporting International and ‘Human Rights’ laws are increasingly overriding national laws and values.
These organizations are committed to moral and cultural relativism, which sets group against group and guarantees supreme and antidemocratic power to the bureaucrats setting the rules of ‘diversity’ and outlawing all dissent from permitted attitudes.
The doctrine of the “oppressed and the oppressor” is the big lie that many leftist elites use to justify supporting an illogical rationale divorced from reality and human nature itself. Ultimately, the acquisition of power is at the core of leftist’s beliefs with its ‘foot soldiers’ being the ‘true believers’ Stalin referred to as the ‘useful idiots’.
“By their fruits shall you know them” is still a worthwhile maxim and the ‘fruit’ of Cultural Marxism is active opposition to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Americans still have the right to believe what they choose, part of that choice is whether they stand with Jefferson and Lincoln… or with Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. It shall be one or the other, for we cannot profess loyalty to two opposed ideologies. You will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both Liberty and Cultural Marxism.
Lest we despair, Lincoln also said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”