Here are some more themes we discussed during our first meeting for Class War:
Stemming from that were questions of individual power at school. At a fancy private middle school, progressive ideals were embraced—service learning, an LGBTQ club, discussions of inequality—but how do we push ourselves and students to dig deeper into those concepts? And furthermore, who has the power to do the digging? Can a Black educator in a predominantly Black, working-class school discuss these issues without consequence? Experience says that, in many cases, discussions of inequality are easier to have in homogenously middle class to upper-middle class environments. This goes back, again, to questions of what is really best for other people’s children; in our experience, this critical and abstract questioning garnered outrage and anxiety from disadvantaged parents who wanted their students to succeed. However, in higher-tracked classes and in fancy private schools, these conversations seem to be open and engaging, and marginally contentious.
We also addressed STEM education. Often, in progressive education circles, STEM is pigeonholed as an enemy because it is so clearly funded by the Bill Gates of the world. Some of us argued that Erickson is guilty of doing the same type of unfair pigeonholing, and that STEM fields really are growing, and it is important to have women and people of color involved in those fields. However, there was also an agreement that the way STEM is often taught is not as exciting or creative or fun as it could and should be, and that is a problem. This problem is a result of an obsession with "college and career readiness" that sucks out the joy and creativity of learning and education. This conversation sets us up well for our next sessions reading of Edutopia.
If you would like to join next week but do not have the book, feel free to email email@example.com for a .pdf of the chapter.
Post written by: Diane Isser
Join us for the next meeting Wednesday, July 26 from 7-8:30 at 814 S. Sheridan St!