Introducing: Education&Capitalism Study Guide/Book-Club Toolkit
June 2, 2012
As we continue our own political education, it’s important to us that we be able to share our ideas with the rest of the world. We also think creating content that makes hosting radical book-clubs easier can be extremely helpful. And so we’re beginning what is sure to be a long string of radical study guides/book-club toolkits. Drop us an ask if you have a suggestion for future books. If one book gets several nominations and seems like the type of thing we’d read, we’ll definitely book-club it.
From the back of the book:
A conservative, bipartisan consensus dominates the discussion about what’s wrong with our schools and how to fix them. It offers “solutions” that scapegoat teachers, vilify unions, and impose a market mentality. But in each case, students lose. This book, written by teacher-activists, speaks back to that elite consensus and offers an alternative vision of learning for liberation.
You can buy the book from Haymarket or Amazon.com (it is cheaper here but Haymarket is a leftist publisher and they do alot of good work so support them if you can) or you could request a copy of it at your local library. We will be summarizing, analyzing, and opening the channels for discussion over every chapter and section of the book. Our readers are more than welcome to submit questions, comments or clarifications about the book they have in our inbox.
Ideally, the material we produce here will allow interested followers to feel confident hosting a study-group/book-club over Education and Capitalism.
The following is a very brief summary of the points made in the Foreword and Preface of Education and Capitalism. The foreword is an interview Adam Sanchez conducted with Bill Bigelow while the preface was written by the editors of this book Sarah Knopp and Jeff Bale. Stay tuned for an analysis post tomorrow!
- Rethinking Schools is a radical publication for educators that Bill Bigelow edits.
- Schools are alienating and often they are students’ first introduction to institutionalized punishment. But schools can be much more than that, they have the potential to be a place for learning, growing and expanding of one’s consciousness. Because of capitalism, and its infection of our school system, schools fall short of their potential.
- Public schools should be for the PUBLIC and teach social justice, “a social commitment to one another to the future” should be the ideology driving our education system.
- “Race to the top,” is like a worse version of “No Child Left Behind” and Obama’s education policies have been indistinguishable (or arguably worse) from George Bush’s.
- Capitalism fails at providing jobs, at managing money, at managing health care and at managing housing so why would we want our education system to be more compatible with a system proven to fail us?
- It isn’t enough to JUST be a teacher (as your benevolent service to the world). Teachers must be activists first in order to be effective as teachers in a capitalist society.
- Radical teachers should develop curriculum that encourages students to “think like activists.”
- Students should learn to challenge the system when they go to school through the teaching. Environmental issues, climate change, climate crisis, global warming, etc should be part of the curriculum.
- Teachers should be critical and creative and the collaborative effort that created this book is a demonstration of that possibility.
- The recession has created circumstances for “austerity” attacks on education.
- With privatization in our education system, racial segregation increases.
- People are very connected to their places of learning and therefore we need to pay attention to the differences in the types of places students are forced to go to. The impact of a child’s place of learning (a place where they spend a majority of their waking time on weekdays) is immeasurable and should be seriously considered.
- The huge fight back movement in Wisconsin is evidence that the media’s attack on teachers/education does not accurately reflect public opinion.
Learn more about this virtual book-club and see a schedule of upcoming book-club posts.