The First Day of School, 2013: Beware!

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Work to enrich students' lives and minds, not teach them to be serfs!
Work to enrich students’ lives and minds, not teach them to be serfs!

Well, a new school year is about to begin, so it’s time to analyze just how much destruction the 1% will visit upon public education this year. Defunding, corporatization of curriculum, standardization of curriculum and experience, high-stakes testing, homogenization of experience…you know, the same old nonsense that drove me from teaching high school about a decade ago.

And it’s getting worse.

But who is is this vague 1%? Neoliberal governments and their “apostles,” which includes the BC NDP of the 1990s with some of their “reforms” as well as the usual suspects of the global power elite.

If the right-wing billionaires and apostles of corporate power have their way, public schools will become “dead zones of the imagination,” reduced to anti-public spaces that wage an assault on critical thinking, civic literacy and historical memory.

via When Schools Become Dead Zones of the Imagination: A Critical Pedagogy Manifesto.

McMaster’s Henry A. Giroux has written this foundational piece, which all school teachers, administrators and parents ought to read before Labour Day. You can agree with it, disagree with it [with whatever ulterior motives you carry], or debate it, but don’t ignore it.

And if you haven’t been one of the 10.4 million viewers of the graphic adaptation of a portion of Ken Robinson’s brilliant lecture on why schools were designed as factories for obedient workers…and how to fix them!, then enjoy this. It will inspire you after reading Giroux’s piece!

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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