What if teachers were allowed, let alone encouraged, to actually teach? Instead, teachers are given umpteen standardized tests to force-feed to their students, supplied with ready-made euro-centric, male-centric curriculum, and put into classrooms without enough supplies let alone enough support to provide students with an education.
The recent firing of Karen Salazar is only one incident in a national trend to outlaw any real teaching in our schools. According to an assistant principal, Salazar was dismissed for “brainwashing students.” This so-called brainwashing consisted of lessons that incorporated “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and the poetry of Langston Hughes. Presumably, it also consisted of serving as the faculty adviser for campus student activists. Yes, how dare she? How dare she teach students the true racist past (and present) of the USA? How dare she actually encourage students to think outside the purview of the scan-tron?
In a letter posted at Vivirlatino, Salazar indicates some other motivations for her dismissal:
My contract is being terminated because according to the principal, I am “indoctrinating students with anti-Semitism and Afrocentrism.” The anti-Semitism accusation comes solely from the fact that I have an Intifada poster hanging in my classroom (a symbol of support for a free Palestine), and the Afrocentrism accusation comes from the fact my culturally-relevant curriculum reflects the demographics of my students, though I am surprised I am not being accused of Raza-centrism as well.
As her words here reveal, she not only teaches “dangerous” curriculum but she supports a free Palestine (a stance not allowed in UZA – United Zionist America) AND, she is Chicana! Holy minute-man crap – how did she get hired in the first place?
Salazar’s firing is sadly not a unique case, though. An Indiana hish school teacher was recently suspended for using The Freedom Writer’s Diary. Connie Heermann, who has been teaching for 27 years, should really know better than to try and inspire her students. Stick to the bubble tests Connie!
In 2007, two LA teachers were fired for including lessons about Emmett Till, a 14 year old lynched 58 years ago for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Don’t you teachers know not to teach history Howard Zinn style?
But, let’s not let the McArthy/Horowitz censorship fun stop there. For, if we don’t also censor the crazy leftie socialists polluting our universities, it could mean the end of civilizedsexismrasism as we know it.
Luckily here in California, the CSU system is able to jettison instructors who refuse to sign a loyalty oath adopted in 1953 to root out communists. Cal State Fullerton was recently spared from having to harbor a commie in their midst when new instructor of American Studies Wendy Gonaver refused to sign a loyalty oath swearing to “defend” the U.S. and California constitutions “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” This refusal ended her appointment as a lecturer. (Thankfully, I have never been asked to sign such an oath at the CSU where I teach.)
Thank the heavens(because you know evolution is a lie perpetuated by mad science teachers) that those who dare to question our imperialist wars or the truth about 911 are being rounded up and suspended, fired, or forced to retire. And thanks to the man himself, David Horowitz, for creating an “academic hit list” so the truth can be avoided, even in college. (Used to be that students started learning some true history once they got to college – but, with the likes of Horowitz and others, maybe we can keep true learning at bay indefinitely).
As Jack at Feministe warns us:
Keeping American students in the dark about America’s wrongdoings, keeping Latino, Black and other students of color from truly understanding their histories in the U.S. – that’s all key to maintaining white supremacy and white privilege in this country.
So, teachers, would you stop trying to teach already–unless that is you want to change the white supremacy, white privilege, racism, sexism, ableism, heteronormativity, etc that rules our world. And, just in case any of you want to to PROGRESS things rather than conserve the same old injustices,just in case you want to TEACH your students rather than instruct them in rote memorization, here’s a little book list (in no particular order) to get you going:
- A People’s History of the United Stats.
- Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America
- Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbooks Got Wrong
- Occupied America: A History of Chicanos (Arizona public school system is attempting to ban this book. See info about this here.)
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed
- Teaching to Transgress
- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
- Democracy for the Few
- Against Empire
- 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Women’s History
- 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African-American History
- Who Cooked the Last Supper: The Women’s History of the Wolrd