"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, March 19, 2010

From NCATE Capitulation to Glenn Beck's McCarthyist Ravings: A Morality Tale

During the reign of Bush II, conservatives from George Will to Lamar Alexander to Rush Limbaugh were partially successful in turning social justice into a partisan issue and, thus, were instrumental in expunging even the words from the literature of many institutions that claimed a non-partisan status. The most prominent example in education was the elimination of even the term "social justice" from showing up anywhere in the NCATE standards.

This appeasement, in turn, gave cover to teacher education programs, already under attack for not giving Milton Friedman equal billing with John Dewey, to pull social justice from college course and program descriptions. For the bigots who see social justice as a threat to the power relations that preserve the status quo of a society still corrupted by overt and covert racism and classism, it was a heady time. (Such demonization and marginalization of language continues today, as evidenced this week in the National Review's new bogeyman watchword, "sustainability." God save us, after all, from those who argue for passing on an inhabitable world to our grandchildren.)

The refusal to stand up to dweebs like George Will a few years ago have now opened up new territory for Tea Party fuse, Glenn Beck, who recently took up the cause of killing social justice with his daily listeners and viewers. Finally, perhaps, we may see where appeasement to injustice leads.

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