- Radical democratic education: lessons from the past, hopes for the future | openDemocracy
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- Radical education theory 101
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Hard to answer of course - a tricky, contested terrain. From my research on Alex Bloom and from my own professional experience as a teacher working in radical comprehensive schools in the s and 80s and then for the next 30 years as a university teacher and researcher, I can identify three influence factors - a mobilising existing progressive movements for reform, b a framework of legislation that not only legitimates democratic experiment but actively encourages it, and c nurturing values-based local, regional, national and international networks.
And if we are to achieve and sustain democracy as a vibrant way of living and learning together in community it must also be committed to caring, creative forms of human encounter that express its purposes and aspirations. The point of politics — the view of human flourishing that gives politics its legitimacy and its energy — must of course inform its structures and processes.
But it must do much more than that. Rather it was the daily realities and enduring commitment to delight in and care for each other as human beings, as persons of equal worth and shared responsibility. Democratic structures are vitally necessary, but they are never enough, in society or in schools.
They can be used and abused in ways which mimic its processes but betray its purpose.
These would not only be inclusive of age and identity but richly and energetically intergenerational. The recent school student strikes in the UK insisting all generations and nations take joint responsibility for the fragile future of our planet mirror and take strength from similar actions in other countries and continents.
Radical democratic education: lessons from the past, hopes for the future | openDemocracy
Lastly, language matters. If we are to resist the withering betrayal of neo-liberalism we must refute its corrosive discourse of performance and profit. How refreshing it is to find those such as the Irish Higher Education Authority whose advocacy of the language of mutuality and the common good names a quite different reality to the self-obsessed consumerism of the market. How important it is to applaud their insistence that HEI must be active sites of democratic citizenship; on the need to make real our commitment to democracy, not merely by studying it, but by living it on a daily basis.
As I have argued elsewhere , if democracy matters it must be seen to matter. Its aspirations require the dignity and eloquence of articulation; its legitimacy requires enacted practical arrangements and humane dispositions which embody its living reality. Summary The Education of Radical Democracy explores why radical democracy is so necessary, difficult, and possible and why it is important to understand it as an educative activity. Author s Bio Sarah S. Amsler is a Reader in Education at the University of Lincoln. Request an e-inspection copy.
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The descriptive incarceration statistics from the Chetty et al. Yet, the limitations of the available data did not allow them to prove it. Thus, we can only infer that racism accounts for some intergenerational mobility gaps. The Chetty study leaves us begging for more as it invokes the question of how researchers can more fully capture how disparate racial forces also disproportionately and intimately entangled with poverty and low levels of employment afflict the daily lived experiences of Black people in the U. Certainly, not all racially marginalized and economically disadvantaged youth fail to reach the higher rungs of academic success and mobility.
In fact, a critical number will sail the winds of upward mobility by entering the doors of higher education.
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In contrast, U. Surely, there is absolutely nothing wrong with fairness. Those contexts are associated with test score outcomes. Sociologist Sean Reardon and colleagues have examined every school district in the U. Test scores increasingly reflect socioeconomic status and material wealth. Achievement gaps in school districts reflect opportunity gaps.
These studies and others including mine find that even in so-called good schools and neighborhoods, the achievement and mobility outcomes for Black and Brown youth are lower than their White peers, even if they perform and fare relatively better than their co-ethnic peers in poorer contexts. Additionally, as MacArthur award winner and social psychologist Jennifer Richeson and her colleagues reveal, when racial and ethnic diversity increases in education or elsewhere, often the sense of group threat and entitlement increases. The most visible, contemporary examples of this are the highly ethnocentric, populist campaign and election of Donald Trump as President of the United States and the controversial and costly free speech events held on various university campuses in the year since his inauguration.
Many of us were heartbroken by the attack on a crowd of anti-racist protestors, including Heather Heyer, who was murdered when one White supremacist plowed his car into the crowd.
Radical education theory 101
Marching boldly and loudly, they decry the significant social, economic, and political gains fought for and earned since the Civil Rights era. The cost of liberty, freedom, and rights for those previously denied all three is to bear witness to and counter-protest against marchers who spew hateful language and wield historical artifacts of violence.
On public university campuses, people of color, LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim, and immigrant people bear the disproportionate psychological burden. They are asked to pay the communal tax for the liberty of ultra-conservative, mainly heterosexual, Protestant White men to foment psychological terror… all in the name of free speech. Hate speech defies democratic, American ideals of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Throughout history, our nation has experienced repeatedly the consequences of exclusive, intolerant, unbridled views. Social progress necessarily demands some moral and legal constraints on different types of expression.
Paradoxically, tolerance in the United States of America—by way of unfettered, offensive, hateful free speech—divides our nation deeply. The above-mentioned studies have convinced me—a sociologist of inequality and education—that policies and practices primarily targeting improved educational attainment and opportunity for historically disadvantaged racial-ethnic groups, though vital, are not enough. I infer this based on studies like one by Reardon, Lindsay Fox, and Joseph Townsend, which reveals the fact that even when individual incomes and educational outcomes are well-above average, stubborn racial differences persist.
The implications here are great. Notably, race and political party affiliation are correlated to some extent.
Keywords in Radical Philosophy and Education
African Americans are overwhelmingly registered Democrats, for example. Critically, the limited ability of both educators and students to engage effectively across social, cultural, and ideological differences— because of their neighborhood compositions and friendship networks —challenge our schools and universities. Growing up in homogeneous economic and racial communities and schools inadequately prepares us for the differences that await us beyond the fold.
Social scientists and decision makers who focus on macro-level and structural conditions can direct our attention to much-needed economic and social policy changes that meet targeted thresholds for higher standards of living and improved mobility in a wealthy, liberal democracy.
At the same time, we cannot afford to ignore the macro-meso-micro connections.
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On the other end of the spectrum, civil society must engage to advance our personal mindsets and social choices. Many of us maintain racial and economic inequality of opportunity through our daily behaviors and our consumption of education as primarily a personal or private good.