12:36 pm CST - February 18, 2010
Posted under On The Record
By Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily
‘We must help people to become committed to social change’
Candidates for certification to teach in public schools in Texas are being told that they will be held accountable for any “heterosexist” leanings and must become agents working to change society, according to one candidate who was alarmed by the demands.
The applicant, who requested anonymity for fear of repercussions, told WND part of the teachings on multiculturalism required him to read several online postings about the issue inside the education industry.
One warns that “teachers and administrators must be held accountable for practices deemed to be racist, sexist, heterosexist, classist, or in any other way discriminatory.” And a second warned that educators must not define education as the basic skills.
“How do we create a better world? How do we do more than simply survive? As educators, we must help people to become committed to social change,” the article demanded.
The teacher candidate told WND the studies were mandated by the Region 10 service center for the public school educators’ program. The center had a recording that it was closed throughout the holidays and officials could not be reached by WND.
But spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe at the Texas Education Agency said the state rules require teacher preparation programs to cover 17 curriculum topics, but not multiculturalism.
“Although the training should address educating special populations such as English language learners and children with disabilities,” she added. “While we establish the broad rules that are to be followed, we do not write or approve a training program’s curriculum,” she said.
She said the articles, if part of the program, were chosen at the region level.
One of the articles was on the EdChange Multicultural Pavilion and discussed defining “multicultural education.”
There it states that there are several focuses for such programs, including those that insist “on education change as part of a larger societal transformation in which we more closely explore and criticize the oppressive foundations of society and how education serves to maintain the status quo – foundations such as white supremacy, capitalism, global socioeconomic situations, and exploitation.”
The article demands, “Schools must be active participants in ending oppression of all types, first by ending oppression within their own walls, then by producing socially and critically active and aware students.”
“The underlying goal of multicultural education is to affect social change. The pathway toward this goal incorporates three strands of transformation:
1. The transformation of self;
2. The transformation of schools and schooling; and
3. 3. The transformation of society,” the teaching material said.
The traditional teaching approaches, it continued, “must be deconstructed to examine how they are contributing to and supporting institutional systems of oppression.”
It demands that the “transformation of society” be part of a school’s goals.
“It is not enough to continue working within an ailing, oppressive, and outdated system to make changes, when the problems in education are themselves symptoms of a system that continues to be controlled by the economic elite.”
A second article that was assigned to the student, the candidate told WND, was “Multicultural Education and Developmental Education: A Conversation About Principles and Connections with James A. Banks,” and included the same concepts of change.
“In the Pedagogy of the Oppressed [the author] says that we must teach students to read the word, which is basic skills, but we also must teach them to read the world, and that is to critique and change society,” the article said.
“One of the things that is happening in this assessment mania that is going on is that we’ve defined education too narrowly. We’ve defined it as only basic skills: reading, writing, and arithmetic. We’re missing that the biggest problem of humankind is not basic skills but how to get along. How do we create a better world? How do we do more than simply survive? As educators, we must help people to become committed to social change,” it stated.
The article also warned instructors must lead their students in a specific social direction.
“I think it is essential that students acquire basic skills and I don’t think they’re neutral. The skills are as value laden as the commitments we want students to share. Although it’s essential that students acquire basic skills, this alone is clearly not sufficient for them to become effective citizens in a global society. They must also develop the commitment and ability to critique and change society,” the article said.
A similar issue of demanding a specific social perspective arose recently at the University of Minnesota. Officials at the school there backed off a proposal after publicity about its planned requirements to examine teacher candidates about “white privilege” as well as provide “remedial re-education” for those who hold the “wrong” views.
That case was taken up by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which promotes civil liberties on the campuses of America’s colleges and universities.
FIRE officer Adam Kissel said the report from the Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group apparently would involve screening teacher applicants for “wrong” views and withholding their degrees if “the university’s political re-education efforts proved ineffective.”
By any “nontotalitarian” standards, he wrote, the plans being made so far by the school are “severely unjust and impermissibly intrude into matters of individual conscience.”
In Minnesota, among the issues discussed in the plans, are requirements that teachers would be able to instruct students on the “myth of meritocracy” in the United States, “the history of demands for assimilation to white, middle-class, Christian meanings and values,” and the “history of white racism.”
Those demands appeared to be similar to those promoted earlier at the University of Delaware.
As WND reported, the Delaware university’s office of residential life was caught requiring students to participate in a program that taught “all whites are racist.”
School officials immediately defended the teaching, but in the face of a backlash from alumni and publicity about its work, the school decided to drop the curriculum, although some factions later suggested its revival.
FIRE, which challenged the Delaware plan, later produced a video explaining how the institution of the university pushed for the teachings, was caught and later backed off:
Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten said the Minnesota plan would have required teachers to “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.”
She wrote, “The first step toward ‘cultural competence,’ says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize – and confess – their own bigotry. Anyone familiar with the re-education camps of China’s Cultural Revolution will recognize the modus operandi.
“What if some aspiring teachers resist this effort at thought control and object to parroting back an ideological line as a condition of future employment?” she posed. “The task group has Orwellian plans for such rebels: The U, it says, must ‘develop clear steps and procedures for working with nonperforming students, including a remediation plan.’”