Sunday, October 26, 2014

You Need Ethnic Studies and Community History To Push Back the Charter Offensive

Any teacher organization which doesn't give strong support to Ethnic Studies and Community History can't push back effectively against the charter offensive. Charters push a one size fits all pedagogy which emphasizes mastery of a curriculum produced at great distance from the lives and experiences of students most charters teach. Charters promote assimilation and conformity, achieved through relentless test prep and memorization, rather than critical thinking and an ability to use familiar materials and local traditions to promote historical understanding. If public schools are to gain the support of families of color and families living in low and moderate income communities, they must foster a pedagogy which draws upon those communities culture and history as an asset rather than a deficit and brings family and community members into the school. Public schools can't stand still and depend on what they did in the past. They have to show they can be more innovative- and more child and family friendly- than the charters, and Community History and Ethnic Studies are an important way of doing exactly that