Monday, November 29, 2021

antiracismdsa: Honduran Elections: Voters Throw Out Corrupt, U.S....

antiracismdsa: Honduran Elections: Voters Throw Out Corrupt, U.S....: As soon as the first ballots were counted it became clear: Xiomara Castro of the Libre party was overwhelming the ruling party -- and winnin...

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Corporate Inflation Scare- and news coverage- is d...

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Corporate Inflation Scare- and news coverage- is d...: The New Inflation Scare Is the Dumbest Thing Since Voodoo Economics Elites are sounding the alarm over threats of inflation in order to bloc...

Friday, November 12, 2021

GOP’s Banning of Books and Attack on Teachers Expose the Party’s Rising Fascism

 GOP’s Banning of Books and Attack on Teachers Expose the Party’s Rising Fascism


The attacks on suppressed histories of racism represent an updated modern civil war.


By Henry A. Giroux

Shortly before Virginia’s gubernatorial election on November 2, the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, circulated an ad in which a white woman calls for Virginia public schools to ban classroom discussions of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved.

Pandering to racist fears and white racial anxiety, Youngkin also stated he would ban from schools what the right wing is inaccurately describing as “critical race theory,” a term which actually refers to a body of legal scholarship, but which right-wingers like Youngkin are using as a catch-all to describe any discussion of systemic racism in the U.S. And Youngkin made the boldface and dangerous assertion that educators are destroying America. Days later, Youngkin received 50.6 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Youngkin’s attack on Virginia teachers’ ability to discuss structural racism are just one example of the GOP’s ongoing attack on public and higher education — an attack that is closely aligned to a fascist politics that despises anyone who holds power accountable and sees as an enemy anyone who fosters liberating forms of social change or attempts to resist the right wing’s politics of falsehoods and erasure.

The Republican Party makes clear that educational practices that inform, liberate, empower and address systemic problems that undermine democracy are both a threat to its politics and a deserving object of disdain.

The Republican Party’s view of “patriotic education” draws directly from the playbook of previous dictatorships with their hatred of reason, truth, science, evidence and the willingness to use language as a source of dehumanization and violence. This is a language that operates in the interests of manufactured fear while producing a void filled with despair. This is a form of apartheid pedagogy that embraces the cult of manufactured ignorance, freezes the moral imagination, erases unsettling forms of historical memory and works to discredit dissent among individuals and institutions that call attention to social problems.

The attacks on suppressed histories of racism represent an updated modern civil war. This is a war against reason and racial injustice that reproduces itself through the production of, as Toni Morrison herself notes, “cultivated ignorance, enforced silence, and metastasizing lies.”

Matters of conscience, social responsibility and equity have been purged from a Republican Party that feeds off the ghosts of an authoritarian past. Its disdain for justice and civic responsibility is also evident in its defense of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, its refusal to accept the election of Joe Biden as president and its immersion in a culture of lies.

The spirit of the Confederacy is obvious in the GOP’s voter suppression laws and its support of white nationalism and white supremacy. The spirit of U.S. authoritarianism is also alive in the Republican Party’s efforts to capture the machinery of state power in order to invalidate state elections along with attempts to suppress the votes of people of color. Such actions are frighteningly similar to attacks on Black voters during Reconstruction.

The legacy of Jim Crow and an updated version of the Southern Strategy are the driving forces in the Republican Party’s attempts to remove from public and higher education, if not history itself, any reference to slavery, racism and the teaching of other unpleasant truths. In this instance, white racial fears are activated, functioning like a coma to enlist the public in increasing acts of censorship, surveillance, and other practices that deaden the moral imagination and sense of civic justice.

The current policing of education in the United States cannot be abstracted from a larger strategy to identify the institutions and individuals who “make trouble” by uncovering the truth, resisting the warmongers, and exposing the violence at work by those politicians who invite the public “to become vigilantes, bounty hunters and snitches.” Drawing on the work of Russell Banks, I believe that the currentattacks on educators who teach about the history and contemporary realities of racism are part of a broader attempt to silence those “committed to a life of opposition, of speaking truth to power, of challenging and overthrowing received wisdom and disregarding the official version of everything.”Authoritarianism and education now inform each other as the Republican Party in numerous states mobilizes education as a vehicle for white supremacy, pedagogical repression, excision and support for curricula defined by an allegiance to unbridled anti-intellectualism and a brutal policy of racial exclusion. Republican legislators now use the law to turn public education into white nationalist factories and spaces of indoctrination and conformity. Republican state legislators have put policies into place that erase and whitewash history, and attack any reference to race, diversity and equity while also deskilling teachers and undermining their attempts to exercise control over their teaching, knowledge and the curriculum.

Read more.


Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. His most recent books include: Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket 2014), The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City Lights 2014), Dangerous Thinking in the Age of the New Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2015), America’s Addiction to Terrorism (Monthly Review Press, 2016), America at War with Itself (City Lights, 2017), The Public in Peril (Routledge, 2018) and American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism (City Lights, 2018) and The Terror of the Unforeseen (LARB Books, 2019). Giroux is also a member of Truthout’s Board of Directors.


A man holds a sign reading "CRITICAL RACIST THEORY IS POISON" during a protest




Jim Crow Politics Have Descended on Education

For the GOP, higher education is now a battleground for conducting a race war waged in the spirit of the Confederacy.


Henry A. Giroux


 October 27, 2021



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Thursday, November 11, 2021

The phantom recall:

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: The phantom recall::   The phantom recall: Who’s behind the push for removing Sacramento Councilmember Katie Valenzuela from office?     BY:  SCOTT THOMAS ANDERS...

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Congressman Ami Bera and Build Back Better

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Congressman Ami Bera and Build Back Better: According to Huff post,   local Congressman Bera is part of the so called Moderate Caucus. this is the group opposing the Build Back Better ...

Saturday, November 06, 2021

What Is Critical Theory ?

 Critical theory / not Critical Race Theory 

From:  Choosing Democracy: A Practical Guide to Multicultural Education.  

Duane Campbell.  4th. edition. 2010..

Critical Theory


Critical Theory and Critical Pedagogy

Beginning in the 1970s, a new approach to schooling for student empowerment developed in the United States. This alternative intellectual tradition, known as critical theory and critical pedagogy,  had four major historical contributors in the U.S.: the work and influence of Paulo Freire; the work and influence of scholars who followed the lead of Althusser and Gramsci  (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985); feminist scholars who were searching for alternative understandings of gender relationships; and the political movements of empowerment, from the Mississippi Freedom Schools of the Civil Rights Movement to current struggles to rebuild the schools for democratic citizenship.

Critical Theory 

Educators using critical theory assume that men and women have a moral imperative toward developing their own humanity  and freedom. This assumption differs from the “scientific” positivist or empiricist scholarly tradition, where researchers assume the need for neutrality and objectivity of investigation (see Chapter 6). Critical theorists further assume that the current problems of any society are subject to investigation and change. They assume that individuals and groups can and should work together to build a more democratic education system and a more democratic society.

Education writers urging the use of critical theory in the United States include Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux, Peter McLaren, Lois Weis, Alma Flor Ada, Jim Cummins, Kathleen Weiler, Carlos Torres, Joan Wink, Antonia Darder, Stanley Aronowitz, and several of the co-authors of this book.[1]

The following concepts are central to critical theory and are useful in trying to comprehend and analyze your own teaching experience:

•     Consciousness: Awareness of yourself and your environment. Consciousness includes self-awareness. For example, “multicultural consciousness” refers to a recognition of the ethnic, racial, and social divisions in our society.

•     Culture: The collective knowledge of a group of people (described extensively in Chapter 2). Please note that European American critical theorists have tended to rely on European authors for descriptions of culture—authors who tend to emphasize class differences and to pay less attention to differences among cultures and ethnic groups.

•     Domination: The act of controlling an individual or group of people.

•     Empowerment: Education processes that lead to political courage and political efficacy. Empowerment strategies teach students to analyze and to act on their analyses. Empowerment strategies also help students gain social, political, and economic power, including the power to make their own decisions.

•     Ethics: Normative preferences and recognition that decisions are often  based on values rather than exclusively on objective research.

•     Hegemony: The overwhelming domination of ideologies or economic systems by a single group or source of power. Often ideological hegemony leaves learners unaware of alternative viewpoints. For example, most schools and teachers have an unexamined commitment to competitive grading.

•     Hidden curriculum: The variety of values and ideas taught informally in schools. These values,  attitudes and assumptions permeate school but rarely reveal themselves in lesson plans or tests. For example, U.S. schools commonly teach individualism, competitiveness, and a European American perspective on our nation’s history.

•     Ideologies: A series of interrelated ideas, such as racism or cultural pluralism. A dominant ideology is often taught in schools as if it were the only truth. For example, we are taught that the United States has a democratic government. Our system is then presented as the definition of democracy: two competing parties, regular elections, a free press, and limited government intervention in the economy. There are other models of democracy, but our particular system is taught as an ideology. In similar fashion, we are taught an ideology that our schools are politically neutral, even though they are clearly committed to the maintenance of the present economic/power system.

•     Ideological domination: Controlling the ideas presented to students by, for example,  by writing standards and  selecting the content of  tests and textbooks.

•     Social class: A group identified by its economic position in the society—that is, working class, poor, the wealthy,  owners of corporations. There are several contending descriptions of classes in the United States (see Chapter 4).

•     Social construction of knowledge: The observation that most knowledge is created by persons. What we regard as knowledge was created for a purpose. The concept of the social construction of knowledge treats knowledge as purposeful and as serving particular interests rather than as neutral and merely discovered. For example, IQ tests were generated for a particular purpose: to predict school success. They do not define intelligence; instead, they measure a specific kind of mental aptitude in relation to a specific purpose. As an alternative, Gardner (1983) proposes that the concept of multiple intelligences provides a different, more useful description of thinking processes.

Critical Pedagogy

At the turn of the last century, John Dewey (1859–1952) argued that a central purpose of schooling was to prepare students to build a democratic society. He thought that critical analysis and learning by doing were essential for the preparation of citizens in a democracy (Dewey, 1916/1966). Influenced by the massive European immigration from 1890  to 1920, Dewey was not an advocate of multicultural education as we presently know it. Like Jefferson before him, Dewey favored having schools lead the nation in developing a new, idealized, democratic American. Today, in a parallel period of massive immigration, Dewey’s works provide  important insights for the position that schools can serve in the cause of creating a democratic society.

In the 1970s, the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire contributed to a  new interest  in and extension of Dewey’s ideas in the field of  education advancing a pluralistic democracy. Freire’s work revolves around a socially responsible humanism. Like Dewey, he believed that education has a central role in building a democratic society. But Freire’s writings offered a new and fresh view of education’s role as a participant in the political struggle to liberate oppressed people. He argued that ending oppression and the “culture of silence” in Brazil  was essential to the process of building a democratic, participatory community.

Freire first gained attention for the methodology he and his colleagues developed to teach literacy to the impoverished people of the Recife area of northeast Brazil. His first major book, A Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972), described a revolutionary educational and social change process for the poor in Latin America. Freire believed that education workers could help empower adults by engaging in dialogue with them instead of falling into traditional teacher–student roles. The Brazilian military  government’s official response to his work was to arrest him in 1964 to stop the mobilization of the poor. After his imprisonment and eventual deportation, he worked for the World Council of Churches in Geneva. Pedagogy of the Oppressed was soon being read and discussed throughout Latin America and among small circles of intellectuals in the United States and Europe (Freire, n.d., 1985; McFadden, 1975; McLaren, 2000). In it Freire describes the oppressive and colonizing functions served by traditional teacher-dominated schooling. Freire’s ideas have important ramifications for understanding the education of oppressed cultural and class groups in U.S. schools.

Prior to Freire’s work, most published education research and university work in social science education in the United States had suggested only technical improvements to the existing school curriculum. The “scientific study” of schools, common even today, used positivist, reductionist research methods (see Chapter 6). This research generally strengthened the school’s role in the domination of oppressed communities. Freire’s writings suggested new analytical concepts to describe the experiences of students. His work offered new hope and insight for teachers working with alienated and oppressed students in our own society. Teachers and activists searched his works and found alternative strategies for work with immigrant and working-class students. Freire’s work suggested solutions to the structural failure of poor children in U.S. schools, whereas the narrow research paradigms of positivism hid  the critical questions of race and class domination and provided few real alternatives.

Freire openly acknowledged that his views included a political pedagogy (Friere, 1998). He revealed the political and class dimensions underlying any education system. Education and schools could reinforce the domination of the existing structure, or they could introduce students to citizenship and freedom. Education could help young people to lead free and self-empowering lives. Following Freire’s lead, education teams in Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, and Nicaragua taught the poor to read by helping community members analyze their life situations. Poor peasants engaged in community organizing to effect social change. Freire used the term praxis to describe the process of critical analysis leading to action. The experience of praxis empowers people to participate in democratic struggles. It gives students and teachers hope.   Multicultural education applies the principles of cultural action and praxis to U.S. public schools, particularly schools serving students of oppressed classes and cultures.

Conservative scholars accuse advocates of multicultural education of politicizing the curriculum. This charge has intimidated some multicultural education advocates and placed them on the defensive. Yet clearly the writings of John Dewey were profoundly political. Critics attack the political dimension of both Freire’s work and multicultural educational theory while refusing to acknowledge that Dewey’s major works provide the intellectual foundations of social justice teaching. Dewey argued that the schools should promote immigrant assimilation and build a democratic society. These are political goals. Freire’s work, like Dewey’s, recognizes the essentially political nature of education.

Both the present Eurocentric curriculum and its multicultural alternatives are highly political. The current standards-based, test-driven curriculum is a political project imposed by legislatures and the President. Realistically, a teacher’s choice is not between being political or neutral. Claiming political neutrality for schools actually supports the continuation of the current tracked, starkly unequal system—a profoundly political position.

The teaching strategies and attitudes described by Freire and adapted for social justice  multicultural education in the United States begin by respecting the prior cultural knowledge that all students bring to the classroom. Freire, like Dewey, argued for rooting the education experience in students’ real experiences. Freire believed that speech, language, and literacy can be understood only in a social context and that students learn language and literacy best in the context of their social experience. He worked with a number of adult literacy campaigns that have applied this principle and that have had enormous impact in societies seeking transition to democracy. Cultural action in literacy contributed to social change in Brazil, Chile, Guinea-Bissau, and Nicaragua (Freire, 1997). In his writings, Freire also applauded successful efforts in the United States—notably the  Highlander Folk School in Tennessee.

   Both ethnographic research and Freire’s work in Latin America considered culture as a field of struggle, not as a fixed or static object.    In this view, developing an understanding of their culture helps students to respect themselves, to learn from the past, and to participate in the active creation of a democratic future.  The literacy programs designed by Freire and his colleagues used an ethnographic perspective to assist peasants in learning about their culture as a means of empowering them (Freire & Macedo, 1987). While many teachers in bilingual and multicultural sites were drawn to the work of Paul Friere and his collaborators  for ideas by their emphasis on culture and the power of the struggle for social justice,  other   teachers and authors, primarily African American ,  were engaged in developing a parallel U.S.  approach  known as  Culturally Relevant Pedagogy as described in Chapter 2.   

Critical Race Theory 

 Following developments in legal studies and the work of Clarence Bell,  activists, scholars, and teachers  in the 1990’s  focused   again on  examining race and racism as it played out in the U.S. and in our schools – a movement known as Critical Race Theory.      Advocates of  critical  race theory argued that race theory  complemented critical theory in  the struggle for social justice since   race and racism had not been sufficiently  recognized and  analyzed in developing most  bilingual and multicultural programs. 

Empowerment as a Goal

When students recognize their own cultural context, they can learn to think critically about it and make meaningful decisions about their life opportunities. Critical pedagogy, or problem-posing education, seeks to help students understand the world they live in and to critically analyze their real-life situations. Critical analysis, practical skills, value clarity, and self-confidence lead to empowerment. Participation in community development helps students develop the political courage to work toward the resolution of their real problems. Community action teams working with preliterate peasants in Latin America helped them to learn to read and perhaps to create a labor union or farmer cooperative. For students from oppressed or marginalized groups in the United States, the goals might be gaining admission to college, receiving a good-quality high school preparation for work, or counteracting crime in their communities.

The strong democratic social justice  perspective in  multicultural education, including critical race theory,  has adopted the goal of empowerment as central to education reform. By urging that schools help students build a more democratic society, multicultural education moves away from positivism’s stress on being an objective observer of events. Education projects designed for empowerment help students to take a stand. They provide opportunities for students to intervene in their own families and communities—to analyze situations, decide, act, and then to analyze their actions anew. Empowerment is taught to overcome disempowerment.

Teachers can teach about social justice at all levels, including the primary grades. Even the youngest children are interested in  the value of fairness .  The question is one of emphasis.  There is more reason to stress a multicultural social justice approach in high schools where the students are adolescents and approaching maturity. 

 High school students are  ready and interested in  studying their own realities and how to operate within the limits of our political/economic system. It is more urgent in high school that the students learn to take control of their own lives  and to overcome low achievement and tracking. The economic consequences, including incarceration, are more severe if students get left behind during their high school years.

Multicultural education that is social justice oriented deals directly and forcefully with social and structural inequities in our society, including racism, sexism, and class prejudice. It prepares students from oppressed groups to succeed in spite of existing inequalities. This approach argues for a bold commitment to democracy in schooling based on a belief in the learning potential of students from all races and classes, and both genders


Figure 7.2  describes this  approach of multicultural education that is social justice oriented.



insert 7.2 about here




Prior to 1998, teachers made the most fundamental decisions on what themes and concepts to teach and to emphasize   in their classrooms. Since then, the dominant standards movement assumes that teachers should follow a curriculum controlled and provided by the state or the district (see Chapter 12). In the area of reading and phonics  this often includes scripted lessons that tell the teacher precisely what to say (derived from remedial perspectives and the Teaching the Exceptional and Culturally Different viewpoint.) In this manner, the standards committee, or the district  or often the textbook publishers have decided precisely what the teachers should teach.

Both critical theory and a strong sense of multicultural education suggest an alternative approach: that teaching and learning should begin....


What Sullivan is describing is Post Modernism.  There are many left critiques of this.


My favorite is  The Post Modern Pooh, by Frederick Crews.


[1] See in particular Aronowitz and Giroux (1985), Freire (1997), Freire and Macedo (1987), Giroux (1988), McLaren (1989), and Weiler (1988).

Friday, November 05, 2021

Cultural War in the Classroom




It is time for educators to go on the offensive against the conservative campaign to ban critical race theory from schools.

Leo Casey, 
The American right ‘s latest culture war offensive is an all-out assault on critical race theory (CRT). Like other right-wing campaigns, the attack on CRT is taking place on two fronts one battle to define the term negatively in popular discourse, and another to enact laws and executive orders that severely restrict how racism is addressed in public schools and post-secondary public institutions. The two fronts work in tandem, feeding off each other; consequently, they must be addressed together.

The right has been shrewd in selecting its target. Founded in the 1970s by legal scholars, CRT has its roots in efforts to explore the ways that racial biases in the law result from structural and systemic inequities. In subsequent decades, the approach spread to disciplines across the social sciences and humanities, as well as to professional fields such as medicine and education, with the goal of investigating and analyzing systemic racism in different cultures and institutions. Today, its influence can be found in dozens of fields of research, and in thousands of texts by hundreds of authors.


Read more:


Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Little Progress on Improving Learning for English Language Learners

A decade after a landmark report on English learners, California still has a long way to go to help students learn English.

The coalition Californians Together released a new report Wednesday on long-term English learners, defined as students who have been enrolled in school in the U.S. for more than six years, but who have not yet achieved full academic fluency in English.

Research shows most students who speak a language other than English at home become proficient in English within five to seven years. Those students who take longer are at risk of never becoming fluent and missing out on academic content in other classes unless schools do more to support them.

The report, titled “Renewing Our Promise: Research and Recommendations to Support California’s Long-Term English Learners,” is a follow-up to a landmark report on long-term English learners, “Reparable Harm: Fulfilling the Unkept Promise of Educational Opportunity for California’s Long Term English Learners,” written by researcher Laurie Olsen and released by the same organization in 2010. That report, still hailed by many educators today, was the first to put a name to the phenomenon of students who spend years in English-language schools without learning English.

California made major changes after that first report was published. The state now requires districts to identify students who are at risk of becoming or are long-term English learners. In addition, the state has also included long-term English learners in the English Language Arts and English Language Development frameworks. The English Learner Roadmap, a guide for school districts and education agencies to better support English learners, also includes specific strategies for long-term English learners.

Note: In spite of years of effort, there has been no measurable improvement in Sac City Unified. 

See our report.



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