Teachers College, Columbia University owes teachers who attended the college in the 1970’s an apology. Teachers who entered the college were caught in a major shift in educational directions in the United States. There was a major focus in the destruction of America through changing the way students were taught, eliminating significant instructional preparation guide lines, developing separate instructional delivery for teachers working in minority community. In simple language, our teacher preparation system dumb down America. Minority teachers were caught in this change, and some fought to prevent the change and were punished. Teachers were taught that minorities were inferior and encapable of learning. Ebonics was introduced, and teachers were encouraged to have low expectations of minority students. Challenging incorrect data on minority students often resulted in failed classes and refusal to grant earned degrees to minority students. This not only hurt students attending the college, but transformed the entire education system in America. Today some school district are trying to correct an injustice and solve the problem with private schools, religious schools and Charter Schools. This was the start of modern day racism, and it will take congressional leadership to eliminate racism from the teacher preparation programs in American colleges and universities. Teachers need an apology, and I am one of them.

       The education crisis in New York City, Patterson NJ and Newark NJ, starts in the City and state universities and teacher education departments. Parents and community leaders cannot solve the problem without going to the source. Educational failure is part of the American culture, without educational failure the system, as we know it would collapse. Students of color are suspended in school districts at higher rates than other groups. New Jersey starts racist suspension as early as Kindergarten, first and second grades. (Record News Paper New Jersey, September 30, 2016). Part of teacher preparation and certification is the demonstration that a teacher, as professional, has the pedagogical skills to influence student behavior, with or without the parent.

Teachers who are not prepared to manage student behaviors, and provide instructional delivery should not be in the classroom. The status quo depends on a failing education system. Education departments and education curriculums teach all education students that minorities and the poor cannot learn.

Education curriculum program teacher to teach to low expectations, and the expectation of low performance does not require high academic preparations. Education programs attract the bottom of the barrel, individuals who are able to accept the theology of planned failure.

Turning the school over to community control will not solve the problem. The problem is in the system, and working inside the system increases and sustain the problem.

The American education system must put in place a separate education system capable of going around the existent system. Parents will fight any improvement, unions will fight any improvements, teachers will fight and improvement and politicians will fight any improvement.

Failure of the American education is vital to the success of racism and stratification of the status quo. The change will require government representatives at the federal state and local levels to solve the problem as representatives of the people, not requiring the popular vote of the people.

The people are not smart enough to change or improve the education system. Those who understand what is happening, have already elected to take their children out of the system and place them in private, charter and religious schools.

New York City has called in corporate America to solve the problem. New York is doing an end run around the traditional government education system, and has contracted the education of its students.

Corporate America has hired professional educators, not brainwashed in the curriculum of failure provided by local colleges in the preparation of teachers, and given them the task of educating children without race or blame.

There has even been some discussion of asking the Catholic Church to participate in the education of teachers and student, since the RCC has a successful rate of educating across class, race and nationality.

The solution to the increase in crime in Newark and other urban centers in America is to change the education system. Education is the doorway out of poverty, and if that doorway is blocked people become frustrated, and that frustration will spill out into the street.

America, at one time had the best and equal education system. That system transformed the immigrant coming out of Europe through Ellis Island, into captains of industry. The same system transformed former slaves, migrating out of the oppression of the southern states, into doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers.

During the 1920’s almost 9 million African Americans left southern oppression and moved north. Millions of men women and children left Europe for better opportunities, and the benefited from a good public education system. In the 1970’s, things changed in our public education system, the process of planned failure was introduced into the teacher education curriculum, and teachers became hopeless and helpless victims of a political strategy designed to destroy segments of America. Education was dumb down, and now the impossible task of changing that strategy has made many frustrated and violent.

 

         America was not alone in her attempt to divide a country through inferior education, Europe; especially Australia used the same dumb down system on its minority population.

  1. Education and Social Reproduction Foster, L. E. (1987) Australian Education: A Sociological Perspective(2nd Ed), Prentice Hall, Sydney
  2. ^ a b Furze, B. and Healy, P. (1997) “Understanding society and change” in Stafford, C. and Furze, B. (eds) Society and Change (2nd Ed), Macmillan Education Australia, Melbourne
  3. ^ a b Connell, R. W. and White, V., (1989) ‘Child poverty and educational action’ in Edgar, D., Keane, D. & McDonald, P. (eds), Child Poverty, Allen & Unwin, Sydney

 

The perspective of conflict theory, contrary to the structural functionalist perspective, believes that society is full of vying social groups with different aspirations, different access to life chances and gain different social rewards [10]. Relations in society, in this view, are mainly based on exploitation, oppression, domination and subordination.[3]        Some conflict theorists believe education is controlled by the state which is controlled by the powerful, and its purpose is to reproduce existing inequalities, as well as legitimise ‘acceptable’ ideas which actually work to reinforce the privileged positions of the dominant group. [10] Connell and White state that the education system is as much an arbiter of social privilege as a transmitter of knowledge. [11]

Education achieves its purpose by maintaining the status quo, where lower-class children become lower class adults, and middle and upper class children become middle and upper-class adults. This cycle occurs because the dominant group has, over time, closely aligned education with middle class values and aims, thus alienating people of other classes.[11] Many teachers assume that students will have particular middle class experiences at home, and for some children this assumption isn’t necessarily true.[8] Some children are expected to help their parents after school and carry considerable domestic responsibilities in their often single-parent home.[12] The demands of this domestic labour often make it difficult for them to find time to do all their homework and thus affects their academic performance.

Where teachers have softened the formality of regular study and integrated student’s preferred working methods into the curriculum, they noted that particular students displayed strengths they had not been aware of before.[12] However few teacher deviate from the traditional curriculum, and the curriculum conveys what constitutes knowledge as determined by the state – and those in power [Young in [3]]. This knowledge isn’t very meaningful to many of the students, who see it as pointless.[8] Wilson & Wyn state that the students realise there is little or no direct link between the subjects they are doing and their perceived future in the labour market.[12] Anti-school values displayed by these children are often derived from their consciousness of their real interests. Sargent believes that for working class students, striving to succeed and absorbing the school’s middle class values, is accepting their inferior social position as much as if they were determined to fail.[3] Fitzgerald states that “irrespective of their academic ability or desire to learn, students from poor families have relatively little chance of securing success”.[13] On the other hand, for middle and especially upper-class children, maintaining their superior position in society requires little effort. The federal government subsidises ‘independent’ private schools enabling the rich to obtain ‘good education’ by paying for it.[3] With this ‘good education’, rich children perform better, achieve higher and obtain greater rewards. In this way, the continuation of privilege and wealth for the elite is made possible.

Conflict theorists believe this social reproduction continues to occur because the whole education system is overlain with ideology provided by the dominant group. In effect, they perpetuate the myth that education is available to all to provide a means of achieving wealth and status. Anyone who fails to achieve this goal, according to the myth, has only themself to blame.[3] Wright agrees, stating that “the effect of the myth is to…stop them from seeing that their personal troubles are part of major social issues”.[3] The duplicity is so successful that many parents endure appalling jobs for many years, believing that this sacrifice will enable their children to have opportunities in life that they did not have themselves.[12] These people who are poor and disadvantaged are victims of a societal confidence trick. They have been encouraged to believe that a major goal of schooling is to strengthen equality while, in reality, schools reflect society’s intention to maintain the previous unequal distribution of status and power [Fitzgerald, cited in [3]].

This perspective has been criticised as deterministic, pessimistic and allowing no room for the agency of individuals to improve their situation.

  1. ^ a b c Gordon Marshall (ed) A Dictionary of Sociology (Article: Sociology of Education), Oxford University Press, 1998
  2. ^ a b Schofield, K. (1999). The Purposes of Education, Queensland State Education: 2010 Accessed 2002, Oct 28.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sargent, M. (1994) The New Sociology for Australians (3rd Ed), Longman Chesire, Melbourne
  4. ^ a b Bessant, J. and Watts, R. (2002) Sociology Australia (2nd ed), Allen & Unwin, Sydney
  5. ^ NSW Board of Studies, K-6 HSIE Syllabus (NSW Australia) [1]
  6. ^ Harper, G. (1997) “Society, culture, socialisation and the individual” in Stafford, C. and Furze, B. (eds) Society and Change (2nd ed), Macmillan Education Australia, Melbourne
  7. ^ a b Meighan, R. & Siraj-Blatchford, I. (1997) A Sociology of Educating (3rd Ed), Cassell, London
  8. ^ a b c Jacob, A. (2001) Research links poverty and literacy, ABC Radio Transcript [2]
  9. ^ Foster, L. E. (1987) Australian Education: A Sociological Perspective(2nd Ed), Prentice Hall, Sydney
  10. ^ a b Furze, B. and Healy, P. (1997) “Understanding society and change” in Stafford, C. and Furze, B. (eds) Society and Change (2nd Ed), Macmillan Education Australia, Melbourne
  11. ^ a b Connell, R. W. and White, V., (1989) ‘Child poverty and educational action’ in Edgar, D., Keane, D. & McDonald, P. (eds), Child Poverty, Allen & Unwin, Sydney
  12. ^ a b c d Wilson, B. and Wyn, J. (1987) Shaping Futures: Youth Action for Livelihood, Allen & Unwin, Hong Kong
  13. ^ Sargent, M. (1994) The New Sociology for Australians (3rd Ed), Longman Chesire, Melbourne
  14. ^ a b c Harker, R., (1990) “Education and Cultural Capital” in Harker, R., Mahar, C., & Wilkes, C., (eds) (1990) An Introduction to the Work of Pierre Bourdieu: the practice of theory, Macmillan Press, London
  15. ^ Swartz, D., “Pierre Bourdieu: The Cultural Transmission of Social Inequality” in Robbins, D., (2000) Pierre Bourdieu Volume II, Sage Publications, London, pp.207-217
  16. ^ Harker, R., (1984) “On Reproduction, Habitus and Education” in Robbins, D., (2000) Pierre Bourdieu Volume II, Sage Publications, London, pp.164-176
  17. ^ Gorder, K., (1980) “Understanding School Knowledge: a critical appraisal of Basil Bernstein and Pierre Bourdieu” in Robbins, D., (2000) Pierre Bourdieu Volume II, Sage Publications, London, pp.218-233
  • Block, A.A., (1997) I’m only bleeding, Education as the Practice of Violence Against Children, Peter Lang, New York
  • Bourdieu, P., (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
  • Bourdieu, P., (1984) Distinction, a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Harvard University Press, Cambridge
  • Bourdieu, P., (1986) “The Forms of Capital”
  • Bourdieu, P., (1990) Reproduction: In Education, Society and Culture, Sage Publications, London
  • Bourdieu, P., (1996) The State Nobility, Polity Press, Cambridge
  • Gabbard, D and Saltman, Ken (eds) (2003) Education as Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schooling
  • Grenfell, M. (ed) (2008) Pierre Bourdieu: Key concepts, London, Acumen Press.
  • Harker, R., Mahar, C., & Wilkes, C., (eds) (1990) An Introduction to the Work of Pierre Bourdieu: the practice of theory, Macmillan Press, London
  • Paulo Freire, (2000) Pedagogy of the Oppressed (3rd Ed), Continuum Press, New York
  • Schofield, K. (1999) “The Purposes of Education”, in Queensland State Education: 2010 (Conference Papers)

Spring, J., (2000) Deculturalization and the struggle for Equality: A brief history of the education of dominant cultures in the U

 

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