Publication Date

2011

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

Teachers, reconsider the community you grew up in, the schools you attended, and now rethink through the values you hold. How and in what ways has your life’s experiences, different forms of privilege, oppression, and (dis-)advantages impacted and shaped your view of the world, your immediate view of the world and the (inter-)national scope of the world? These are fundamental questions that I think we all must answer, not just as citizens of the world, but as educators. Through exploring your answers to these questions you can attain clarity of the past and present. I believe that we have to bring that clarity and openness into the class and challenge our students to address these questions as well, because an education is more about asking than answering. We must understand the hidden and overt impacts of how we learn and teach. We have to draw out what the manifestations are in our lives. All of this questioning and exploring is the impetus in destructing educators’ awareness on tracking. Ability grouping is partly accountable for misleading students to have faith in fabricated structures like standardized testing, authoritarianism, letter grading, and meritocracy. Schools are now breeding grounds for producing citizens for use-value instead of for individual or a collective worth — “use-value” is the exhaustive consumption of a person’s labor for producing goods and services that create capital exclusively for owners and managers. While the U.S. exports and exploits labor for domestic goods, schools test perceived abilities. Both must be challenged and radically transformed! The divisions they cause in school and society are unacceptable.

In this paper I argue sociologically, economically, and personally that a false consciousness is present regarding the structures and impact of our society and schools. It seems to me in the interviews I conducted that there is not a strong defense for tracking and that these teachers have mixed or no knowledge of the historical evolution of tracking. Thus, I recommend that we start organizing and pushing hard on the bounds of resistance. Einstein rightly said that, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” In place of racism, exploitation, and the denial of rights, we must demand reconciliation, racial justice, and a reinvigoration of self-determination!

Disciplines

Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Education Policy | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity

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