I applaud anyone who takes a stand against oppressive speech in any sphere, especially important public debates like this. But let’s also remember to call out the oppressive actions of more powerful members of our society, including public figures like Campbell Brown. Their actions are the root cause of much of the anger that characterizes the education debate, as besieged defenders of public schools find ourselves on the wrong side of multi-million dollar attacks on our children, our rights, and one of our most important public institutions. Don’t Let Distractions Erase Genuine Critiques Of Rhee And Campbell ☀
Models and Authorizations: An Interview with Walter Brueggemann. ☀
- Micky Jones: For seminarians, or for myself as an African American seminary student, it has been difficult to focus on study. I feel like, “What am I doing here taking classes when there is work to be done on the ground?”
- Walter Brueggemann: There is also work to be done in study. Every revolutionary movement needs people who think and study and write and analyze. A revolution is not sustainable if there are only people on the street. You have to have what the great Italian sociologist called “organic intellectuals”. You have to have intellectuals doing the homework and background work that will sustain the movement. For people like you, who are in seminary, that is an important part of your work. Do that homework and hard head work that will sustain.
- As you know street protests often do not succeed. Then it becomes a question of, “How do you stay at it in the face of failure?” You stay at it in the face of failure if you have some intellectual underpinnings that will keep interpreting why we do this and how we do this. The purpose of study is to keep the movement from running out of steam.
Public funds in the form of federal student loans has been called the “lifeblood” of the for-profit system, providing on average 86% of revenues. Such schools now enroll around 10% of America’s college students, but take in more than a quarter of all federal financial aid—as much as $33 billion in a single year. By some estimates it would cost less than half that amount to directly fund free higher education at all currently existing two- and four-year public colleges. In other words, for-profit schools represent not a “market solution” to increasing demand for the college experience, but the equivalent of a taxpayer-subsidized subprime education. Education With a Debt Sentence ☀
Today, the combination of extreme economic inequality, technological change, and pessimism about the future have fueled forces that would like to see some people have only a technical education that will serve them in the short term. The expense of higher education also motivates those who are looking for short cuts. But we can find more cost-effective ways of creating environments that teach a broad, contextual curriculum even to those who have specific needs for skills of a certain kind. All Americans should have an education that prepares them for citizenship and for continuing to learn after their formal schooling stops. Michael S. Roth ☀
Imagine corporations that intentionally target low-income single mothers as ideal customers. Imagine that these same companies claim to sell tickets to the American dream—gainful employment, the chance for a middle class life. Imagine that the fine print on these tickets, once purchased, reveals them to be little more than debt contracts, profitable to the corporation’s investors, but disastrous for its customers. And imagine that these corporations receive tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to do this dirty work. Now, know that these corporations actually exist and are universities. Education With a Debt Sentence ☀
It seems to me that educated people should know something about the 13-billion-year prehistory of our species and the basic laws governing the physical and living world, including our bodies and brains. They should grasp the timeline of human history from the dawn of agriculture to the present. They should be exposed to the diversity of human cultures, and the major systems of belief and value with which they have made sense of their lives. They should know about the formative events in human history, including the blunders we can hope not to repeat. They should understand the principles behind democratic governance and the rule of law. They should know how to appreciate works of fiction and art as sources of aesthetic pleasure and as impetuses to reflect on the human condition. Harvard, Ivy League Should Judge Students by Standardized Tests ☀
In the broader society, entertainment is the new mode of education with its delivery of instant stimulation, excitement, gratification, and escape from the world of social and political responsibility while broader notions of education harness peoples’ subjectivities to the narrow values of a market-driven society. In school, pedagogies of repression wage war on the critical and imaginative capacities of students. Under such circumstances, the disimagination machine represents a constellation of symbolic and institutional forces that attempts to shut down the possibility of critical thought and social agency. Henry A. Giroux ☀
As all aspects of American life are transformed into a war zone, the state employs the mechanics and practices of a disimagination machine coupled with state terrorism. For instance, public schools are being privatized and militarized while higher education is being turned into a training ground for all but the elite in order to service corporate interests and power. Henry A. Giroux ☀
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