Speaking Truth to Power (English Journal)
Column Editor: P. L. Thomas
“If education cannot do everything, there is something fundamental that it can do. In other words, if education is not the key to social transformation, neither is it simply meant to reproduce the dominant ideology. . . .The freedom that moves us, that makes us take risks, is being subjugated to a process of standardization of formulas, models against which we are evaluated. . . .We are speaking of that invisible power of alienating domestication, which attains a degree of extraordinary efficiency in what I have been calling the bureaucratizing of the mind.” (Freire, 1998, Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage, pp. 110, 111)
Twenty-first century education in the U.S. has included a bureaucratic muting of teacher professionalism, autonomy, and voice. Additional features of current reforms involve scripting the ideas and expression of students through external accountability measures, standards, and high-stakes testing.
This column seeks to explore the experiences and possibilities that arise when educators speak Truth to power. It is also intended to be an avenue for teachers to speak Truth to power through teacher narratives about the “the bureaucratizing of the mind,” about best practice in critical literacy against scripted and tested literacy, and about creating classrooms that invite students to discover, embrace, and develop their own voices and empowerment.
Submit an electronic Word file attached to your email to the column editor, P. L. Thomas, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributors are encouraged to query the column editor and share drafts of column ideas as part of the submission process.
1/15/14 (A Whole New Ballgame: Sports and Culture in the English Classroom)*
3/15/14 (The Standards Movement: A Recent History)*
5/15/14 (Re-thinking “Adolescence” to Re-imagine English)*