Teaching “Social Justice” in the K-12 Schools

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Teaching “Social Justice” in the K-12 Schools


By Sol Stern--PSAF.org--07/31/06

The ten most prominent texts used in education schools to encourage teachers in K-12 schools to indoctrinate students with the views of political radicals.


1. Freire, Paolo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 2000.


The bible of the social justice curriculum movement by a Brazilian Marxist; it has sold a million copies worldwide and is most widely used text in schools of education. In his revolutionary pedagogy Freire argued that “there neither is, nor has ever been, an educational practice in zero space-time—neutral in the sense of being committed only to preponderantly abstract, intangible ideas.” Since all education is political, leftist teachers who care about the oppressed have a right, indeed a duty, to use a pedagogy that, in Freire’s words, “does not conceal—in fact, which proclaims—its own political character.”



2. Ayers, William., Hunt, J.A., & Quin, T. (eds), Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader. New York: New Press, 1998

William Ayers is the Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois and also the editor of the Columbia Teachers Colleges series “Teaching Social Justice” for K-12 school-children. Ayers is a political radical and the unrepentant former leader of the Weatherman terrorist cult which bombed the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol in the 1970s. This text consists of pedagogical justifications for “teaching for social justice. At the University of Illinois future teachers signing up for Ayers’s course, “On Urban Education,” can read these exhortations from the professor’s course description: “We need to look beyond our isolated situations, to define our problems globally. We cannot be child advocates . . . in Chicago or New York and ignore the web that links us with the children of India or Palestine.” For another course, titled “Improving Learning Environments,” Ayers proposes that teachers “be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and . . . be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, a teacher teaching for social justice and liberation.”


3. Ladson-Billings, Gloria and Tate, William F. (eds), Education Research in the Public Interest: Social Justice, Action and Policy. New York: Teachers College Press, 2006.

The authors are, respectively, the outgoing president and next president of the 25,000- member American Education Research Association, the official organization of the education school professorate. This text advocates that education professors engage in research and scholarship that promotes social justice teaching. In her introduction Professor Billings writes about the racism and moral failure of the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina and proposes that “The work we have to do must be done in the public interest. We cannot hide behind notions of neutrality or objectivity when people are suffering so desperately.”



4&5. Gutstein, Eric & Peterson, Robert (eds), Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers. Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools, 2005.


Eric Gutstein is a 7th grade mathematics teacher in the Chicago public schools. Guttstein writes that “it is important to declare that we , as educators, are not powerless, even within repressive educational systems.” These texts provide lesson plans showing how elementary and high school teachers can indoctrinate students in political radicalism in math classes. In another text, Reading and Writing the World with Mathematics. Guttstein describes how on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America he devoted an entire lesson of his 7th grade mathematics to demonstrating to his students why the American military action in Afghanistan was wrong and immoral.  


6. Kozol, Jonathan, On Being a Teacher. New York: Continuum, 1996.


Best selling author’s guide book for teachers; shows how to use stealth in introducing left wing political advocacy into the classroom.  A typical chapter, “Disobedience Instruction,” shows teachers how to inculcate skepticism of authority. They should discredit obedience by discussing “those ordinary but pathetic figures who went into Watergate to steal, into My Lai to kill—among other reasons, because they lacked the power to say no.” They should invoke mass murderer Adolf Eichmann, too, whose “own preparation for obedient behavior was received in German public schools”—which resemble our own in aiming to produce “good Germans, or good citizens, as we in the United States would say.”


7. Barton, Angela Calabrese, Teaching Science for Social Justice. New York: Teachers College Press, 2003

Argues that traditional science education emphasizes “corporate values at the expense of social justice and human dignity" and shows teachers how to bring left wing politics into science classes. Barton writes: “The marriages between capitalism and education and capitalism and science have created a foundation for science education that emphasizes corporate values at the expense of social justice and human dignity.” The alternative? “Science pedagogy framed around social justice concerns can become a medium to transform individuals, schools, communities, the environment, and science itself, in ways that promote equity and social justice. Creating a science education that is transformative implies not only how science is a political activity but also the ways in which students might see and use science and science education in ways transformative of the institutional and interpersonal power structures that play a role in their lives.”


8. McClaren, Peter, Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and The Pedagogy of Revolution. Latham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000

McClaren is an influential professor of education at UCLA and a self described communist and Marxist Leninist. In this text he argues for bringing Che’s “revolutionary pedagogy” into the K-12 classroom. McClaren proposes “readmitting into the debates over educational reform the legacy of Che Guevara as a model of moral leadership, political vision, and revolutionary praxis.”


9. hooks, bell, Teaching to Transgress: Education as The Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994.

The author is the Distinguished Professor of English Literature at City University of New York, whose book A Killing Rage, justified the murders of Asians and whites by a deranged shooter on the Long Island Railroad as an example of  black rage.” The author is a leading radical feminist and Marxist, who argues that K-12 teachers must constantly educate students about the pervasiveness of sexism and racism in American society.  She writes: “We desperately need to explore the connections between racism and sexism. And we need to teach everyone about those connections so that they can be critically aware and socially active.”



10. Darder, Antonia, Baltodanao, Marta and Torres, Rodolfo. (eds), The Critical Pedagogy Reader. New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003

A collection of readings by the major theorists of social justice teaching, widely used in graduate education schools. The editors stress that critical pedagogy links school to wider revolutionary action in the society and that “no real political struggle can be waged by one lone voice in the wilderness. Emancipatory efforts within schools must be linked to collective emancipatory efforts within and across communities.”



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