As educators, we must always be aware that we are operating in a highly contested political arena- one the defines winners and losers.
Gary Howard’s words are so true:
“The forces of social dominance…are, by definition, directed toward protecting and perpetuating the good of the few…
For this reason and in this context, public school educators are, by the nature of our work, political operatives…
In our role as educators we are either acting in complicity with the forces of dominance that underlie the achievement gap, or we are consciously and actively seeking to subvert these dynamics and inequities in the service of our students. When it comes to issues of social justice and educational equity, it is difficult or impossible to find a middle ground. We are either being used by the forces of dominance, or we are actively resisting them, both in our personhood and in our professional practice. Whether we are in complicity or in resistance, we have tremendous political influence.
Part of the work of transformationist educators of all racial and cultural groups is to make known that which the forces of dominance would prefer us to leave unnamed and unacknowledged, namely , that (1) the political climate in which public education is currently embedded is not working for the children who have already been pushed to the margins by the equities inherent in systems of social dominance, that (2) those who benefit from these systems have no real intention to change the dynamics that have historically favored them, and that (3) much of the rhetoric underlying the lofty claims of ‘no child left behind’ is merely window dressing and dramatic illusion on the stage of perpetual dominance.”
We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know (pgs. 135-136)