November 23, 2009

Once again -- why schools of education are wastes of time

This time (well, again) if you don't adopt a particular political/social view, you're not worthy of becoming an educator in Minnesota:

Do you believe in the American dream -- the idea that in this country, hardworking people of every race, color and creed can get ahead on their own merits? If so, that belief may soon bar you from getting a license to teach in Minnesota public schools -- at least if you plan to get your teaching degree at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus.

In a report compiled last summer, the Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group at the U's College of Education and Human Development recommended that aspiring teachers there must repudiate the notion of "the American Dream" in order to obtain the recommendation for licensure required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Instead, teacher candidates must embrace -- and be prepared to teach our state's kids -- the task force's own vision of America as an oppressive hellhole: racist, sexist and homophobic.

The task group is part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative, a multiyear project to change the way future teachers are trained at the U's flagship campus. The initiative is premised, in part, on the conviction that Minnesota teachers' lack of "cultural competence" contributes to the poor academic performance of the state's minority students.

OK, so this is pretty much the same radical swill that infects way too much of American campuses today. But I'd really like an answer (which I never got as a grad student in education) as to just how teaching students that the US is a living hell for minorities and women helps to motivate them to do well in society, both vocationally and socially. I mean, let's have it.

The first step toward "cultural competence," says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize -- and confess -- their own bigotry.

Not a new thing among the Educrat Left. In the nonsense that are "Difficult Dialogues" and its variants, white educators are told that it's their inherent prejudice that keeps minority students from achieving -- the cause, if you will, for the "achievement gap."

The task group recommends, for example, that prospective teachers be required to prepare an "autoethnography" report. They must describe their own prejudices and stereotypes, question their "cultural" motives for wishing to become teachers, and take a "cultural intelligence" assessment designed to ferret out their latent racism, classism and other "isms." They "earn points" for "demonstrating the ability to be self-critical."

Mao would be extremely proud of this task group.

Sheesh. I will tell you, though, that there's nothing more satisfying than confronting a moron that peddles this garbage. It will amuse you to listen to the "non-answer answer" you'll receive, as well as to the outright racial/ethnic ignorance the advocate him/herself possesses.

Posted by Hube at November 23, 2009 01:09 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

There will certainly be a First Amendment challenge to this -- assuming, of course, that the Constitution still has any meaning here in Obama's America.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at November 23, 2009 01:48 PM

Interesting, thanks for sharing. Given that I'm presently on a course toward becoming a faculty member at a school of Ed., this sort of thing concerns me. I mean, I don't think anybody would deny that inequities exist in education (or in many other places). But even a lefty like myself isn't sure that this proposal is a very smart way to address the issue. I'm sharing this with some of my colleagues in the "Socio-cultural approaches" program and am curious about their views on the subject.

Posted by: JohnnyX at November 23, 2009 03:12 PM

Johnny: I'm a bit concerned that you said that you "aren't sure." I'd think it'd be a slam-dunk that this is just plain nuts. ;-)

FWIW, I've posted about stuff like this since early 2004 (my old blog in particular) and have received numerous comments/e-mails from lefties like yourself that are quite appalled by such programs/ideas.

Posted by: Hube at November 23, 2009 03:28 PM

I said "not sure" simply because I had only read the opinion piece and not the full text of the program description itself yet. Always find it better to judge after having actually read original sources and not just what someone thinks about them.

Having now read it, I can say some of the stuff in the document isn't all that loopy (e.g. having prospective teachers reflect on their own beliefs experiences and how those things might influence their future teaching in both positive and negative ways). That being said, yeah, there are parts of it that just make me go "facepalm" and say to myself "No wonder nobody takes us seriously."

Posted by: JohnnyX at November 23, 2009 03:42 PM

I knew that, J -- that's why I put the smiley face there. :-)

Do me a favor, 'tho -- if you encounter any big advocates for this stuff that are as radical as this article makes them, please call them out for their inanity!!

Posted by: Hube at November 23, 2009 03:47 PM

Just thought I'd share this response from a friend & fellow education PhD candidate, she with a "sociocultural approaches" focus:

"ugh, it does sound like UD's reeducation program, except instead of it being campus wide (like UD did), UM is targeting future teachers only. Their approach is very scary. Indoctrination versus provoking thinking are two VERY different things. I feel bad for the Ed majors at UM, and I hope this program gets torn down."

She also told me that she's going to share this with an undergraduate teacher ed. class she is teaching this semester to foster discussion.

Posted by: JohnnyX at November 23, 2009 05:24 PM

Good for her!

Thanks for the update, Johnny.

Posted by: Hube at November 24, 2009 08:15 AM

just how teaching students that the US is a living hell for minorities and women helps to motivate them to do well in society, both vocationally and socially.

Well that's not the goal. The goal of the left is to condition them to believe in perpetual victimhood (with the State as the savior) The result being an every increasing subgroup dependent entirely upon the welfare state and thus subservient to the government.

Posted by: mike w. at November 24, 2009 11:08 AM