Education Week identifies the "special-interest groups" that promote "social-justice teaching" and provide curricular materials, online resources and "professional development" (i.e., indoctrinating teachers). These groups include an affiliate of the American Educational Research Association, the Cambridge-based Educators for Social Responsibility and the Washington-based Teaching for Change, in addition to Rethinking Schools.
The lobbyists for "social-justice teaching" and "critical pedagogy" sponsor well-attended conferences (no doubt at taxpayers' expense) and publish magazines. Teachers 4 Social Justice attracted 1,000 educators to an October seminar in Berkeley, Calif.
Lesson plans are available from a 30-year-old magazine called "Radical Teacher," which was founded as "a socialist, feminist, and anti-racist journal on the theory and practice of teaching."
Education Week identifies Ayers-style "social-justice teaching" as rooted in the writings of the late Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. His best-known book, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" (1970), is considered a classic text of radical education theory and is regularly assigned in education schools.
After Freire's theories took hold in teachers colleges, it's no surprise that they made their way into public schools, especially where low-income and minority kids can be taught oppression studies. Schools that specialize in "social-justice teaching" exist in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia, among other cities.
The Social Justice High School in Chicago, for example, has a 100 percent Hispanic or black student body. The principal admits that the lessons taught there are often "atypical," such as teaching the relative likelihood of whites and minorities being pulled over by police.
This district recently announced plans to open a "gay-friendly" public high school called Pride Campus with 600 students, half homosexual and half heterosexual. Official materials say that the curriculum will "teach the history of all people who have been oppressed and the civil rights movements that have led to social justice and queer studies."
It is clear that "social-justice teaching" does not mean justice as most Americans understand the term. Those who use the term make clear that it means the United States is an unjust and oppressive society and the solution is to "spread the wealth around."
Ayers declined to be interviewed for the Education Week article. His comments were unnecessary since the article was generally favorable to "social-justice teaching" and dismissive of its critics.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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