Thursday, November 01, 2007

Education is the NAME of their game 

Longtime reader Prof. Peter Lorenzi sent me a column regarding the appearance in his Baltimore this week of the National Association of Multicultural Education or NAME. Their chosen theme is �Charting the Course to Academic Excellence and Equity Through Multicultural Education,� a group whose executive director openly declares that its goal is indoctrination:
I�m excited that we�re entering into a new civil rights movement that�s been nicknamed Civil Rights 2.0. If properly challenged, students can become the vanguard of this new movement.
Of course, if they want to become just math teachers? I guess they would not have been "properly challenged." Anyway, the reason Peter sent it to me was mention in the column of a course taught by someone here at SCSU. Here's the conference catalog, and the full description of the course:
1.09. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Dismantling White Privilege and Supporting Anti-racist Education in Our Classrooms and Schools. This intermediate to advanced pre-conference workshop is designed to help educators identify and deconstruct their own white privilege and in so doing more deeply commit themselves to anti-racist teaching and critical multicultural education. This institute is very participatory and requires attendees to take risks and be open to self reflection. There will be ample opportunity for participants to apply the content presented and thus folks are invited to bring experiences from their educational environments. The workshop is geared toward E-12 educators, administrators and staff but is also accessible to folks from higher education, community education and social services.
You might wish me to have fun with this, but I don't really find it funny. Schools in Maryland and elsewhere are using taxpayer dollars to send their teachers to this sort of stuff, whereupon they are required "to take risks and be open to self reflection" (that is, admit to white guilt) so that they can "more deeply commit themselves to anti-racist teaching and critical multicultural education." You almost hope instead the teachers merely squander the taxpayers' money by sitting in the Inner Harbor area having a Starbucks instead of bemoaning their own race in some conference hall.

Indoctrination is of course a prelude to a call to action, and another of my colleagues provides a call later in the conference:
5.00B. The Dream Act: How We Can Make It Part of the New Immigration Reform? The Immigration Reform Act (S.2010) revived by President Bush on 2004, and other bipartisan proposals in discussion are important pieces of legislation that will give undocumented immigrants legal support to live and work within the United States. Legal legislation such as the DREAM Act, oriented to provide a legal support to undocumented students after graduation in high school should be included as part of any integral reform of the immigration laws.
Again, this is a session being taught by someone in the college of education. To teachers. Regardless of your position on immigration reform, what is this doing in a conference that is supposed to show teachers how to teach to diverse student bodies? Compared to these, the last of the sessions offered by SCSU faculty, titled "Rainbow Families� Educational Outreach Program: Your Handy Guide to Queering the Curriculum and Making Schools Safe for All Families," actually sounds closer to what their mission should be. Lobbying for immigration reform, however, is advocacy.

A reminder: Indoctrinate U ends its run tonight at the Oak Street Cinema.