Friday, May 14, 2010

Move Aside, Piven and Cloward—The New Evil Genius is Paulo Freire

Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, but read this from an article about the new anti-ethnic studies bill in Arizona:

The new law, which takes effect at the end of the year, is a victory for Tom Horne, the state superintendent of public instruction, who has fought for years to end Tucson’s ethnic studies programs, which he believes teach students to feel oppressed and resent whites.

“The most offensive thing to me, fundamentally, is dividing kids by race,” Mr. Horne said.

“They are teaching a radical ideology in Raza, including that Arizona and other states were stolen from Mexico and should be given back,” he continued, referring to the Mexican-American studies classes. “My point of view is that these kids’ parents and grandparents came, mostly legally, because this is the land of opportunity, and we should teach them that if they work hard, they can accomplish anything.”

Mr. Horne, a Republican who is running for state attorney general, said he also objected to the textbook “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire.

Paulo Freire? Textbook? I’d love to see Arizona’s schoolkids try their luck with Freire’s dense left-Hegelian classic, which, by the way, deals with an entirely different set of issues.

The complete non sequitur of bringing up Freire, and the “textbook” nonsense, both suggest that Horne knows nothing at all about this topic. That in turn implies there may be a new intellectual conspiracy theory circulating among the far right. If so, get ready to hear that the triumph of secular humanism and collectivism in the indoctrination camps known as public schools all issue from this nefarious treatise by the former Brazilian theorist and activist.

I’m waiting to hear what Glenn Beck has to say about the hidden threat of “dialog”.

1 comment:

Suffern AC said...

The title and the name of the author is all he needs. Since the people he represents don't study pedagogy, and don't take these classes, he can pretty much say what he wants. "Everyone knows" what goes on in these classes anyway. Kids just learn about the collectivist mindset...Instead the apparently non-ideological belief that through luck and pluck and avoiding rum, we're all middle class.

Saul Alinsky played the same role just last year. But he was more of a public intellectual type than Freire whose book is rather dense.

This seems more to be the fruits of a conspiracy theory that has already taken hold rather than one that is budding. Everybody already knows what these kids are being taught. The conspiracy is how everybody came to know it.

I haven't heard anything new here that I didn't hear 20 years ago during the culture wars while the "studies" were being established. And a lot of this sounds like the arguments that used to be made by Young Republicans. (Who are the real Nazis? They claim they have an open mind, but why don't they allow us to invite white supremacists to campus? Where's white studies? A Disease of Political Correctness is Destroying the Country!) The Bell Curve. The Closing of the American Mind. Illiberal Education. Tenured Radicals. Gosh, don't we ever settle anything? I guess the answer is no, and I will need to dust off a copy of Greywolf Annual 5. Welcome to 1992.

The difference between Alinsky last year is that by mentioning Freire as a textbook, what he really means is that it is a foundational text taught in education departments at universities, much like Dewey. My guess is that that is where we get to go next in Arizona. Tenure is such a quaint concept, what with so many people unemployed and all. Why shouldn't the public have a say in what is being taught? Mind if we take a look at the books you've been assigning?