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Henry Giroux Against Bill and Melinda Gates

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Posted on Aug 25, 2013
YouTube/Ted Asregadoo

In a Truthout video interview about his recent article “When Schools Become Dead Zones of Imagination,” social critic Henry A. Giroux describes the neoliberal capture of public education as “an attempt to move away from understanding students as young people who have a voice, who have a sense of creativity, a sense of possibility.”

Giroux was responding to a comment about the proliferation over the last decade of alleged means of measuring students’ physio-mental responses to different styles of teaching and the supposed benefits therein. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a big advocate of the trend.

“I think the end point is to produce students who basically can’t think,” Giroux said. “I mean, students who are incapable of being creative, students who are incapable of questioning authority, and students who basically have no considerations or concerns with any form of pedagogy that would take into consideration the responsibility of what it means to be a citizen or the responsibility one has to the other. Or for that matter, to imagine a future in which questions of justice and democracy even matter.”

“I think we have to understand something here. This obsession with metrics is an attempt to move away from understanding students as young people who have a voice, who have a sense of creativity, a sense of possibility. It’s so narrowing, the definition of what we call learning, that these places are what we call dead zones. So the issue here is not just an obsession with metrics. The issue here is to implement a pedagogy of oppression under the banner of some kind of reform for which metrics is the only measurement.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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