the other side

Out of curiosity, I wanted to read an argument in vehement opposition to Freire’s Marxist-inspired teachings.  I found this : (tbh I wish I hadn’t because it pissed me off).

Sol Stern essentially argues that pushing leftist Freireian ideas actually oppresses minority students because it prevents them from considering the other side: conservatism.

“Of course, the popularity of Pedagogy of the Oppressed wasn’t due to its educational theory alone. During the seventies, veterans of the student-protest and antiwar movements put down their placards and began their “long march through the institutions,” earning Ph.D.s and joining humanities departments. Once in the academy, the leftists couldn’t resist incorporating their radical politics (whether Marxist, feminist, or racialist) into their teaching. Celebrating Freire as a major thinker gave them a powerful way to do so. His declaration in Pedagogy of the Oppressed that there was “no such thing as a neutral education” became a mantra for leftist professors, who could use it to justify proselytizing for America-hating causes in the college classroom.”

  • Arguing with frat boys always ends with the “You just hate America!!” patriotic morality bs.  In response, I turn their patriotism on its head: Critiquing America and wanting to improve her conditions is the highest form of patriotism- if you believe in something, you believe in its ability to improve.

Stern also supports Graff’s argument that “Making it the main object of teaching to open “students’ minds to left, feminist, anti-racist, and queer ideas” and “stimulate” them (nice euphemism that) “to work for egalitarian change” has been the fatal mistake of the liberatory pedagogy movement from Freire in the 1960s to today.”

  • I really can’t understand how someone could argue that teaching anti-racist ideas is a “fatal mistake” and still say they’re not racist…

“Freire’s ideas are harmful not just to students but to the teachers entrusted with their education. A broad consensus is emerging among education reformers that the best chance of lifting the academic achievement of children in the nation’s inner-city schools is to raise dramatically the effectiveness of the teachers assigned to those schools. Improving teacher quality as a means of narrowing racial achievement gaps is a major focus of President Obama’s education agenda. But if the quality of teachers is now the name of the game, it defies rationality that Pedagogy of the Oppressed still occupies an exalted place in training courses for those teachers, who will surely learn nothing about becoming better instructors from its discredited Marxist platitudes.”

  • This is the biggest myth in the education reform movement.  The teachers are not the problem- fundamental inequality is responsible for racial achievement gaps.  How can someone who has to worry about getting shot while walking to a friend’s house perform at the same level as someone whose parents are investment bankers and can provide all the books, music lessons, and club sports practices a kid could ever want? @Sol Stern: you’re a racist.

“In the age of Obama, finally, it seems all the more unacceptable to encourage inner-city teachers to take the Freirian political agenda seriously. If there is any political message that those teachers ought to be bringing to their students, it’s one best articulated by our greatest African-American writer, Ralph Ellison, who affirmed that he sought in his writing “to see America with an awareness of its rich diversity and its almost magical fluidity and freedom. . . . confronting the inequalities and brutalities of our society forthrightly, yet thrusting forth its images of hope, human fraternity, and individual self-realization.”

  • Way to co-opt a black activist’s language to support your own racist beliefs. I’m done.


I bet you can guess what Mr. Stern looks like.





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1 Response to the other side

  1. martenweiner says:

    The point of bringing subjectivity into the classroom, a teacher’s (or students) specific viewpoints, experiences, and understandings, is the only way to achieve some kind of truthful understanding. Every person comes from a point, a neutral does not exist, and is not really even a useful evaluator. This does not mean that certain people do not have more expertise or knowledge in some matters, in fact the people who do are often the ones that get shut down as being non-objective, people who have actual experiential three-dimensional understandings of topics that come from living with them. To be ‘objective’ is to ignore one’s own preconceptions/memories, which people can only do on the conscious level (and that is only if they are actually doing it instead of purporting to), but memories remain as ingrained shapers of not only our thoughts, but also our present modes of experiencing (our senses). To be subjective is to bring one’s understandings, one’s own neutral, their mode of thinking, to the forefront, to make a kind of personal objectivity in the open, so it can be discussed, looked at, and understood.

    At the BLM anthropology talk yesterday, this was something that came up from a slightly different direction, from the point of radical honesty. That a teacher must bring their personal experiences to the classroom to have an honest, and maybe more importantly, open communication and collaboration with students.


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