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A Modest Neoliberal Proposal

It’s often repeated old news that U.S. public education is being undermined by corporate interests and elitist ideologues. Yet, this sinister trend continues at a quickening pace. How else explain our billionaire U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, and her agenda? How else explain the school-to-prison pipeline and arming teachers? Who doesn’t know by now that we have a man-boy sociopath in the White House who doesn’t care about the millions of young people his politicking harms? Then you have those who spend countless hours digesting Fox News, Breitbart, or the Wall Street Journal, loving the direction the country has taken: why concern oneself with education? Be concerned: don’t be deceived by corporate-backed politicians and pundits who know little about the wholesome education of a young person; listen to verifiable educators in the field. Stay concerned.

Please share the following, especially the shout-outs at the end for Teaching Agency for Equity: A Framework for Conscientious Engagement, released by Routledge. I am happy to report my poem, “North American Education” appears in the closing chapter. Also, if you haven’t taken a peek yet, please visit The Teacher’s Voice (2004-2014 archived online)It’s a poetry journal I founded for teachers to express themselves. I like thinking TTV did some good for its time.

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A Modest Neoliberal Proposal

I must say, torture the little bastards
for a good start. Pull their teeth out
as we marinate them to our liking.
Of course, the tough ones will need
prisons, giving us value-added fun.

I say, make them all profitably edible
before they discover the trouble
they could truly become well-read.
They are nothing like my own heirs
destined to build on my birthright,
just as I received it from golden lines
of free, self-made, intrepid creators,
who made this country an empire.

Swift’s proposal was just a primer:
we now own U.S. public education,
jammed with research-based recipes.
The naive grovel for a lottery chance
at the privilege of being eaten alive.

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 Creating Citizens for the World: Early Educators Speak Out

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Teaching Agency for Equity: A Framework for Conscientious Engagement was authored by Raquel Ríos. For teachers who want to take care of the well-being of their students, as well as their own, this is a fortifying timely read. Raquel Ríos’ great heart and understanding can be found in and between the lines. Here is what some highly respected critical educators have to say about this text:

“In this important new book, Raquel Ríos demonstrates what teachers can do to further equity in the educational experiences of their students. Her ideas are practical and her analysis of the possibilities is insightful and thought-provoking for teachers who seek to make a difference this book will be a source of hope and inspiration.”

–Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor of Education, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

“With the forces promoting corporate school reform projecting outsized power through their big megaphones, Raquel Rios performs an essential challenge, reminding us that education is a universally recognized human right and, at its best, an enterprise geared toward enlightenment, liberation, and the full development of the human personality—mind and heart, body and spirit. Drawing on a lifetime of experience, Rios urges us to expand our critical capacities as we fight for equity, justice, and an education worthy of free people.”

–William Ayers is a former Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago

“No matter what we teach or who we teach, we will find great value in the art, the spirit, the healing nature of Teacher Agency for Equity. The practicality of Rios’ work about establishing equity and justice in schools and the community is equally admirable and useful for teachers and teachers of teachers. Rios’ insightful questions at the end of each chapter challenge the reader to internalize the abstract concepts and stories within the book and particularize those into engagement with students, parents, schools, and communities. But more important is Rios’ deep understanding that the wisdom in every community and classroom comes from the experiences and the genius of those at the bottom, not the gurus at the top. This consciousness, developed from her own diverse experiences, is congruent with the core beliefs of the long struggle of humans to be free. Her words and beliefs channel those of Civil Rights icons like Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Vincent Harding, and Bob Moses.”

–Joan T. Wynne, Ph.D./writer/educator, Miami Algebra Project Council

Andrés Castro, a PEN member/volunteer, is listed in the Directory of Poets and Writers. This mix first appeared on the author’s blog, The Practicing Poet: Dialogue to Creativity, Poetry, and Liberation.

 

 

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