Why IU students call the School of Education the School of Propaganda...

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In seminary, the education classes were even worse than the preaching classes so I haven't been shocked over the past two decades to hear IU students talk about how awful classes are in the Indiana University School of Education. It's not been uncommon for them to refer to it as the "IU School of Propaganda." Don't get me started on education because my thoughts on Christian, home, and state schooling would be sure to stir up a hornet's nest.

Anyhow, here's an interesting article on the sort of chic-radical trash that stupid educators make required reading for students trying hard to become the next generation of stupid educators. The book is Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Brazilian Paulo Freire, and according to Sol Stern over at City Journal, Freire's book is mandatory reading in the New York Teaching Fellows program which "provides an alternate route to state certification for about 1,700 new teachers annually." Stern continues...

Since the publication of the English edition in 1970, Pedagogy of the Oppressed has achieved near-iconic status in America’s teacher-training programs. In 2003, David Steiner and Susan Rozen published a study examining the curricula of 16 schools of education—14 of them among the top-ranked institutions in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report—and found that Pedagogy of the Oppressed was one of the most frequently assigned texts in their philosophy of education courses. These course assignments are undoubtedly part of the reason that, according to the publisher, almost 1 million copies have sold, a remarkable number for a book in the education field.

Just one excerpt from Freire:

The pedagogy of the oppressed [is] a pedagogy which must be forged with, not for, the oppressed (whether individuals or peoples) in the incessant struggle to regain their humanity. This pedagogy makes oppression and its causes objects of reflection by the oppressed, and from that reflection will come their necessary engagement in the struggle for their liberation. And in the struggle this pedagogy will be made and remade.

Deep. Stern comments:

(Freire's) idiosyncratic theory of schooling refers only to the growing self-awareness of exploited workers and peasants who are “unveiling the world of oppression.” Once they reach enlightenment, mirabile dictu, “this pedagogy ceases to belong to the oppressed and becomes a pedagogy of all people in the process of permanent liberation.”

Seldom does Freire ground his description of the clash between oppressors and oppressed in any particular society or historical period, so it’s hard for the reader to judge whether what he is saying makes any sense. We don’t know if the oppressors he condemns are North American bankers, Latin American land barons, or, for that matter, run-of-the-mill, authoritarian education bureaucrats.

"The oppression of authoritarian education bureaucrats" indeed. Take a class in our IU School of Propaganda.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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