10 April 2010

Call for Papers: Policy Futures in Education

Good Morning,


Policy Futures in Education

Michael A. Peters, mpet001@uiuc.edu
Huseyin Esen, esen1@uiuc.edu

Education and Scenarios for a Post-Occidental World

There has been much talk of the ‘post-American world’, the ‘end of
history’, the ‘triumph of the West’, the rise of China or a
multipolar, pluralistic world dominated by continental politics, the
rise of the BRICs and changing global power dynamics. Each one of
these scenarios has serious implications for education, the world’s
education systems, the architecture of educational institutions and
the roles that education as an institution plays locally, nationally,
regionally and globally. This is a speculative special issue designed
to provide a preliminary investigation of these historical scenarios
with a special emphasis on education—its role and trajectory.
Contributors are requested to confine themselves to 5,000 words
(including references) and to provide an argument that embraces one or
more of the following themes limiting themselves to a schematic and
programmatic statement that provides only an outline of their ideas.

1. End of Hegemony: The Rise of Asia, Multipolarity and the
Post-American, Post-European World

2. New Europe: Fortress Europe(?), Rejuvenation and the Question of

3. China Inc: Chimerica, The Beijing Consensus, and the End of Neoliberalism

4. Globalization 2.0: The Cultural Economy, Hybridization, and Multi-modernities

5. After History: Collapse of Soviet Russia, End of History, Triumph
of Liberalism

Please signal your intent and expression of interest by sending the
lead editor (mpet001@illinois.edu) a title and abstract as soon as
possible. Deadline for manuscripts is end of September, 2010. The
special issue will be published in late 2011 or early 2012.

24 March 2010

Say Anything?

I work with graduate students and when it comes to picking research topics, they tend to go for things related to standardized testing. It's a mania. At this point, I could develop a drinking game for every time I see the following words or phrases: "student achievement," "benchmarks," "NCLB," "AYP," "gain scores," "professional learning communities," "data driven (insert education activity here)" and so on. It's like if it doesn't involve test scores, it's somehow not "real" research. Yet only when we get away from testing do we begin to deal with what is real!

The other day I noticed that the film Say Anything was on T.V., and there's a great speech that Lloyd, the main character, makes when he's asked at dinner what career path he wants to take. The original monologue goes like this:

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."

Getting inspired by all this "test talk" that permeates anything related to education, crowding out the conversations we SHOULD be having about why things have to be this way to begin with, I took Lloyd's quote and updated it for us teachers:

"I don't want to direct instruct anyone, do research on student achievement based on test scores, or teach to the test as a career. I don't want to direct instruct from anything aligned to the standards or tested, or test anyone who has been direct instructed, or research standards-aligned curricula for effectiveness, or remediate anyone who has been tested, direct instructed, or subjected to aligned curriculum based on raising test scores. You know, as a teacher, I don't want to do that."

So for all those professors out there who are armpit deep into reviewing research drafts, my hat goes off to you! Stay untested, my friend.

31 January 2010

Rouge Forum Conference 2010: Call for Proposals


Education in the Public Interest: Teaching and Learning for a Democratic Society

RF 2010 will be hosted at George Williams College on the scenic banks of Geneva Lake. Located officially in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, the college is nestled between the major metropolitan areas of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. The conference will be held August 2-5.

Bringing together academic presentations and performances (from some of the most prominent voices for democratic, critical, and/or revolutionary pedagogy), panel discussions, community-building, and cultural events, this action-oriented conference will center on questions such as:

1. Transforming the notion of “saving public education” to one of creating education in the public interest, what does teaching and learning for a democratic society look like?
2. What does education for liberation look like compared to the more socially reproductive/dominating education we see in many of our nation’s schools?
3. Are the current crises in the economy as well as educationally in such states as California or cities like Detroit indicative of a turning point in history? Has the rightward shift ebbed or will the economic crisis push the ruling class towards fascism?
4. What is a public good? Is education a public good? Why is it treated as a private good?
5. Is climate change a matter to be debated by governments and industry leaders? Has the public participated in the debate on climate change? What roles do educators have in making students aware of the implications of that debate?
6. Are multi-trillion dollar deficits public ‘bads’?
7. What debts will future generations, including the students we may teach, carry because our financial, governmental, and military endeavors have not been concerned with public goods?
8. What are the educational implications of the recent Supreme Court decision to endow corporations with the right of free speech?
9. How do we learn and teach to get from where we are to where we need to be?
10. How do we stand up for the correctness of our ideas?
11. How does change happen (individually, within a school, within a district)?
12. Can the current system be reformed in order to better serve children, families, and citizens?
13. If not, what would a new system look like? How would it be implemented? What past models exist on which to work and build?

To learn more about the conference, please contact any of our conference organizers:

Faith Wilson (fwilson@aurora.edu)
Adam Renner (mailto:arenner@bellarmine.edu?subject=Rouge%20Forum%20Conference%202008)
Wayne Ross (wayne.ross@ubc.ca)
Rich Gibson (rgibson@pipeline.com)
Gina Stiens (mailto:stiensg@yahoo.com?subject=Rouge%20Forum%20Conference%202008)
Doug Selwyn (dselw001@plattsburgh.edu)
Joe Cronin (jcronin@antioch.edu)

Or visit the conference website at: http://www.rougeforumconference.org/.

Proposals for papers, panels, or performances should include title(s), no more than a 500 word description, and names and contact information for presenter(s). Presenters should plan on 45 minute time slots to deliver papers. Panels and performances will be awarded 90 minutes.

Review of Paper and Panel Proposals treating any of the above questions will begin April 15, 2010. Please send your proposals to Faith Wilson (fwilson@aurora.edu). As we expect a number of proposals for a limited number of slots please forward your proposal as soon as possible.

Performance Proposals should also be forwarded to Faith Wilson (fwilson@aurora.edu) by April 15, 2010. Please describe your art/performance and how it may relate to the conference topic/questions.

19 January 2010

Critical Education inaugural issue

Critical Education logo
The Editorial Team of Critical Education is pleased to launch the inaugural issue of the journal.

Click on the current issue link at the top of the home page or the abstract and article links at the bottom of the page) to read "The Idiocy of Policy: The Anti-Democratic Curriculum of High-stakes Testing" by Wayne Au.

Au is assistant professor of education at Cal State University, Fullerton and author of Unequal By Design: High-Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality (Routledge, 2009).

To recieve notification of new content in Critical Education, sign up as a journal user (reader, reviewer, or author).

Look for the initial installments of the special section edited by Abraham DeLeon titled "The Lure of the Animal: Addressing Nonhuman Animals in Educational Theory and Research" in the coming weeks.


Rouge Forum Update--from Rich

Get the latest: http://www.richgibson.com/blog/?p=122

10 January 2010

Call for papers: Rouge Forum News, Issue 16

Rouge Forum News, Issue 16—Call for papers—Deadline: April 1

The Rouge Forum News is an outlet for working papers, critical analysis, and grassroots news. Issue 16 feature articles will be focused on experiences with, pictures of, research regarding, and stories on PROTEST and RESISTANCE. Given the upcoming march in California on March 4, 2010 and the occupation of businesses (Republic Window) and schools (the New School in NY and several in the California system) over the last year plus, we invite your essays, poetry, photos and art that surrounds the theme of protest and resistance.

Along with these feature articles, we invite, as usual, other essays that treat the links between runaway capital, the rabid and rapid standardization of curriculum, the co-optation of our unions, the militarization of our youth, and the creep of irrationalism in our schools.

Review a book, talk about what lessons have worked in your school lately, play with theory, critique theory, give us some highlights on your research, write a poem, etc.

We are interested in work from academics, parents, teachers, and students: teachers at all levels, students in ANY grade, parents of children of any age.

We publish material from k-12 students, parents, teachers, academics, and community people struggling for equality and democracy in schools --- writing (intended to inform/educate, or stories from your classroom, etc.), art, cartoons, photos, poetry.

You can submit material for the RF News via email (text attachment, if possible) to Adam Renner at arenner@bellarmine.edu. PLEASE SUBMIT BY APRIL1, 2010.

31 December 2009

The end of a dire decade: A happy new year wish and a rouge forum update


The latest RF News is here.

For the latest Rouge Forum Update from Rich: http://www.richgibson.com/blog/?p=107. Here is a nice preface to Rich's latest update:

In mid- 2001, we wrote, “This is the seiche time...From time to time in the St. Clair River, which runs rapidly along the eastern coast of Michigan connecting Lake Huron with Lake St. Clair, a combination of high winds and atmospheric pressure causes the river to split apart, leaving a wet marsh between an onrushing tide of water headed south, and a trailing wave of great power. The locals call this a seiche, and the long moments that pass as the broken water surges to connect with itself, usually accompanied by dark purple skies, they call the seiche time.”September 11, 2001 followed.Four years earlier, we argued that schools were even then the centripetal organizing point of de-industrialized North American life (and elsewhere too), that the struggles in schools would mesh ideology and money; sometimes colliding, other times in a perfect marriage.

We said any society engaged in militarism, imperialism, tied to a consumer economy, would surely move to greater control over what citizens know and how they come to know it. Schools would be key.

In schools, we said that six thrusts from elites would come into play:
1. Regimented national curricula (we used the history standards as a model).
2. Anti-working class, racist, high-stakes tests.
3. Merit pay linked to the tests.
4. More militarism.
5. Some privatization.
6. A full blown assault on educators’ wages and benefits.

We argued that the traditional unions and professional organizations would be worse than useless in meeting these attacks as their leaders are flatly on the other side of what is a class(room) war.

We said “an injury to one will proceed an injury to all.” It has, as we indicated, urban districts serving especially exploited populations and rural districts would be hit first, but middle class districts would follow–then even some of the richer public schools would be hit.

We insisted for nine years that a consumer society that has a vanishing productive base, a society rooted in spectacles, massive internal and external borrowing, and financial shenanigans was built on sand–and that the sky would fall.

It did.

For a decade, we built school resistance around, mostly, research and action aimed at the high-stakes exams with some success in both wealthy and poor districts while most middle class district school workers muddled along.

In early 2008, we expressed sympathy for those who would vote Democratic, but suggested that relying on Democrats to make fundamental change demonstrated a key misunderstanding of the relationship of capitalism and democracy, the former then trumping democracy at every turn.

We insisted that “capitalism has to be named.” We said, “The core issue of our time is the rapid rise of color-coded social and economic inequality and the promise of perpetual war, challenged by the potential of mass, class-conscious, resistance.”

Over more than a decade, our conferences and our resources became community and comfort to educators who often felt isolated in this onslaught. We claim no special foresight. What is most surprising to us is that in North America the Rouge Forum stands alone as an organized group of people who recognize that what is afoot is an education agenda as a war agenda, a class war agenda, and who seek to construct reason, connected to power, in order to not only push back, but transform our own lives and our society.

The Rouge Forum transcends the divisions of academic and social labor, rather than recreating them as do unions and the “professional” organizations. We include doctors, professors, k12 educators, support personnel, social workers, media specialists, librarians, parents, two principals, truck drivers, custodians, secretaries, retirees, stadium workers, construction workers, unemployed people, soldiers, union staffers, that is, people from all over world, the US to India to England to Grenada to South Africa.

The Rouge Forum News, our Broadsides, videos, and other publications reflect that unity–and our varying critiques of why things are as they are. We close a horrific decade begun and ended with war heaped upon war—battles where the children of the poor kill other children of the poor on behalf of the rich in their homelands. We witnessed the greatest theft of wealth in the history of the world, the $12.9 trillion Tarp bank bailout (no strings) and the takeover of the auto industry by the federal government, finalizing what can only be seen as a corporate state.

On the near horizon, we suspect the Democrats will tax the existing health insurance of those who have jobs, dump GM, Chrysler, and Walmart employees into a debased pool of the barely insured, and let the rich off the hook once again.

What is ahead? Surely more wars, intensifying as imperial rivalries grow. China, Russia, Japan, and Europe all desperately need that oil, that cheap labor, that copper, those markets, the pipelines, and those shipping lanes. The wars will come home in the economy and daily life. Our crystal ball isn’t clear enough to predict deflation, inflation, or devaluation, but the throw of the dice says rampant inflation. In daily life, the assaults on reason and well being in schools will necessarily sharpen as will political repression, often disguised as protection of the citizenry. If resistance is not successful, all educators could become traveling adjuncts.

We have said persistently that people will fight back as they will have no choice but to fight back—and people will pull back when they see no alternative but to retreat. Will we make good sense of why we must fight? Will the fight be the isolating call of, “Save My Job!” and lose, or will it be, “When They Say Cut Back, We Say Fight Back!” and win?

Resistance is rising as the recent battles in California universities show. However, it remains that retreat is workers’ main move now–as the debacle of the Detroit Federation of Teacher contract ($500 per month pay cut, massive health care cuts, merit pay, teachers disciplining teachers–all as the DFT leadership hugged the employer; teachers ratified at 60% as they were isolated from one another, saw no option).

Justice demands organization. If we are to overcome what can now be reasonably described as the emergence of fascism as a mass, popular, world-wide movement, the Rouge Forum needs to grow. We need your ideas, suggestions, comments, and criticism. You can post here at the blog or write any member of the Rouge Forum Steering Committee.

We hope you will spread the word, urge others to join our community, so the next decade will not end with the darkness this one has.

Good luck to us,
every one.