Dec 11, 2013
Why Independent Thinkers Are Repugnant to Religious Zealots and Rick Santorum
Posted on Feb 22, 2012
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout
The current assault on young people, public education and critical thinking is first and foremost an attack not only on the conditions that make critical education and pedagogy possible, but also on what it might mean to raise questions about the real problems facing public education today, which include the lack of adequate financing, the instrumentalization and commodification of knowledge, the increasing presence of the punishing state in the schools, the hijacking of public education by corporate interests, the substitution of testing for substantive forms of teaching and learning and the increasing attempts by right-wing extremists to turn education into job training or into an extended exercise in patriotic xenophobia and religious fundamentalism. As the right-wing juggernaut destroys the social state, workers protections, unions and civil liberties, it is easy to forget that a much less visible attack is being waged on young people and especially on public schools and the possibility of critical forms of teaching. Critical pedagogy, that arch enemy of fundamentalists everywhere, must be understood as central to any discourse about educating students to be informed, skilled and knowledgeable critical agents, but, more importantly, it must be understood as the most crucial referent we have for understanding politics and defending all aspects of public schooling as one of the very few remaining democratic public spheres remaining in the United States today.
1. I take up this issue in great detail in Henry A. Giroux, “Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability?” (New York: Palgrave, 2010).
2. Chris McGreal, “The US Schools with their own police,” The Guardian UK, (January 09, 2012)
4. Rosalind Rossi, “‘Flaming hot’ chips, gum, other ‘infractions’ costly at some schools,” Sun Times (February 14, 2012).
6. The Associated Press, “Chicago School Draws Scrutiny over Student Fines,” ABC News (February 20, 2012).
7. Bill Moyers, “Discovering What Democracy Means,” TomPaine.Com (February 12, 007).
8. Jacques Derrida, “The Future of the Profession or the Unconditional University,” p. 233.
9. Edward Said, “Reflections on Exile and Other Essays” (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 501.
10. Stanley Aronowitz, “Introduction,” in Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom (Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), pp. 10-11.
11. Zygmunt Bauman and Keith Tester, “Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman” (Malden: Polity Press, 2001), p. 4.
12. Chandra Mohanty, “On Race and Voice: Challenges for Liberal Education in the 1990s,” Cultural Critique (Winter 1989-1990), p. 192.
13. Cornelius Castoriadis, “Democracy as Procedure and Democracy as Regime,” Constellations 4:1 (1997), p. 5.
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