[Marxism] David Horowitz now targeting education professors

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 29 20:19:11 MDT 2007


(Including Marxmail subscriber Peter McLaren)

The Political Assault On Our K-12 Schools

Today the gravest threat to American public education comes from 
educators who would use the classroom to indoctrinate students from 
kindergarten through the 12th grade in radical ideology and political 
agendas.

Much of this indoctrination takes place under the banner of “social 
justice,” which is a short-hand for opposition to American traditions of 
individual justice and free market economics. Proponents of social 
justice teaching argue that American society is an inherently 
“oppressive” society that is “systemically” racist, “sexist” and 
“classist” and thus discriminates institutionally against women, 
non-whites, working Americans and the poor.

Educators who advocate teaching for “social justice” share radical views 
of American society. That is their right as citizens; but they have also 
made these radical views the central focus of their educational programs 
for students in America’s public schools, which is not. Social justice 
teaching violates the professional obligations of teachers in a 
democracy to educate students not indoctrinate them. Political 
indoctrination in the classroom not only violates the professional 
obligations of educators, it undermines America’s democratic commitment 
to providing a solid academic education for all of the nation’s children.

In recent years teaching for social justice has become a powerful 
movement in American schools of education. Among its leaders are William 
Ayers, a former leader of the terrorist Weather Underground and 
self-proclaimed “street fighting communist,” who is Distinguished 
Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University 
of Illinois at Chicago. Ayers is the inspirer and editor of a 
twelve-volume Columbia Teachers College series “Teaching for Social 
Justice;” Peter McClaren, Professor of Education at UCLA, and 
influential theorist of the teaching for social justice movement is the 
author of a widely read book describing Che Guevara as the most 
important pedagogue of the 20th Century. And the outgoing and incoming 
presidents of the 25,000 member American Education Research Association, 
the major umbrella organization of the education school professorate, 
are both supporters of the doctrine of teaching for social justice in 
K-12 classrooms. In fact the AERA has just hired its first Director of 
Social Justice.

Programmatic radicalism is not incidental to social justice education 
but its core. Lee Anne Belle, director of the education program at 
Columbia’s Barnard College, is co-editor of the book Teaching for 
Diversity and Social Justice, a text for prospective K-12 teachers, in 
which she explains that social justice education is necessary because 
American society “is steeped in oppression.” Most oppressive of all, 
Bell contends, is free-market capitalism, which she defines as an 
“economic system that structures and requires” poverty. The chapter on 
“Designing Social Justice Education Courses” in Professor Bell’s text, 
states that “Courses can have a single issue focus (racism or classism 
for example) or a multiple issue focus (sexism, heterosexism, and 
ableism [a term to describe discrimination against people with 
disabilities].”

Social justice educators enjoy the full support of professional 
education organizations and schools across the country. The National 
Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, which is the largest 
accrediting agency of teacher education programs in the US, says that if 
an education school “has described its vision for teacher preparation as 
‘Teachers as agents of change’ and has indicated that a commitment to 
social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become 
agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some 
measure of a candidate’s commitment to social justice.”

The effects of these policies are manifest in the overtly political 
nature of many of the nation’s 1500 education schools -- the 
institutions responsible for training the next generation of K-12 
teachers. For example, Brooklyn College’s School of Education bases its 
evaluations of aspiring teachers in part on their commitment to “social 
justice.” The College recently released a statement stating, “Our 
teacher candidates and other school personnel are prepared to 
demonstrate a knowledge of, language for, and the ability to create 
educational environments based on various theories of social justice.” 
Humboldt State University in Northern California, requires prospective 
high school history and social studies teachers to take a course in 
Social Studies Methods, whose professor, Gayle Olsen-Raymer explains in 
her syllabus: “It is not an option for history teachers to teach social 
justice and social responsibility; it is a mandate.”

Even a subject seemingly removed from the realm of politics -- 
mathematics – is a vehicle for political indoctrination in the hands of 
social justice educators. The Master of Education program at 
Northeastern University offers a course to K-12 teachers called 
“Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice.” Rethinking Mathematics: 
Teaching Social Justice by the Number is one text in this field. Its 
editors, Eric Gutstein and Bob Peters, are both public school math 
teachers. Their textbook is intended to “provide examples of how to 
weave social justice throughout the mathematics curriculum.” The authors 
include “teaching suggestions” in the book, among which are an exercise 
to calculate the cost of the Iraq war; a “math project about racial 
profiling;” a lesson on reading line graphs detailing “corporate control 
of U.S. media;” and even a cartography lesson where students consider a 
“map of territory that Mexico lost to the United States.”

Since its inception, public education in America has been about creating 
the next generation of citizens of a democracy, meaning individuals who 
can think for themselves, not citizens who are force-fed orthodoxies or 
doctrines of a sectarian nature. The mission of America’s elementary and 
secondary schools has been to serve American pluralism: to educate a 
community of citizens who disagree with each other into a common culture 
of tolerance and respect. The goal of America’s public schools is 
encapsulated on the Seal of the United States: “E Pluribus Unum”: out of 
many one.

The leftist political agenda of “social justice educators” undermines 
the American public school system as we have known it. The historical 
ideal of public schooling as a means of assimilating all children (and 
particularly the children of new immigrants) into a common civic and 
democratic culture is now under assault by the education professors 
advocating teaching for social justice and deriding the common civic 
culture ideal as nothing more than capitalist hegemony.

A democracy cannot tolerate the corruption of its educational system by 
a political faction, whatever its persuasion. The “social justice” 
movement in American K-12 schools is a surrogate for the radical left, 
whose purpose is to indoctrinate public school children in sectarian 
political and social ideas. As such, it threatens the very foundations 
of this republic. A diverse community like ours cannot survive if its 
taxpayer supported educational system becomes the captive of a 
particular political faction. We call on legislators to restore the 
principles of professional education, which is viewpoint neutral and 
which supports the fundamental principles of a pluralistic democracy, to 
our nation’s public schools.

David Horowitz, Director, the Academic Freedom Project
The David Horowitz Freedom Center




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