Education

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This panel brings together two undergraduate students and two faculty members to discuss and explore the possibilities of student-faculty collaborative research projects as sites for social justice work and campus organizing. The project at the center of this panel investigates the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nationwide “nonprofit” composed of state legislators and private corporations. Founded in the 1970s, ALEC works to create bills that are disguised to seem unbiased, yet are designed to benefit corporations at the expense of America’s middle and working classes. After ALEC, along with its legislative and corporate members, creates a “model bill,” legislators introduce it in state and federal governing bodies, allowing the organization to quietly coordinate and direct the nation’s political agenda. ALEC is responsible for some of the most egregious attacks on minority, immigrant, and working-class groups in recent years. It has promoted its pro-business, anti-immigrant, and anti-environment platform by crafting model policies for voter ID laws, mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines and bail bonds reforms that benefit the private prison industry, and accountability policies that aim to exploit America’s education system for profit.

As a student-faculty collaborative team, three of our panelists will describe the work they are doing at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to expose ALEC’s impacts on America’s working and middle classes by analyzing already-existing sources of information about ALEC, investigating Millennials’ information literacy capacities and rhetorical preferences for political information, and creating a multimodal campaign of social media messaging and on-campus organizing. Their goal is to mobilize college students to learn about and take action to stop ALEC’s campaign against equitable, inclusive policymaking.

Our first two speakers, undergraduates Wendy Santamaria and Sudeep Dhanoa, will begin the panel by describing ALEC and explaining how it works as a core part of right wing political activity in state and federal government. Then they will discuss findings from their comparative study of the effectiveness, reliability, and persuasive power of different rhetorical strategies for raising awareness about political issues on social media and websites. In today’s noisy media landscape, how can young people learn about complex political entities like ALEC? Santamaria and Dhanoa will present examples of the existing online information about ALEC, the infographics and info-videos their team has been developing, and the types of multimedia texts college students describe as most reliable, effective, and persuasive for learning about political issues on Facebook, Instagram, and other sites.

The third speaker will be Heather Steffen, a postdoctoral scholar and lecturer who collaborates with Santamaria and Dhanoa. Steffen will introduce key points from the literature on student-faculty collaboration in research and on the ways college faculty and staff can support student activists. She will reflect on the challenges and possibilities of such collaborative and supportive relationships, using examples from the ALEC project to demonstrate the enhanced learning, strong cross-generational bonds, and creative thinking about organizing that can take place in sites where students and faculty work together.

The panel and Q&A will be moderated by John Maerhofer, an adjunct assistant professor with experience in global and postcolonial studies. We will reserve at least 40 minutes of the panel’s time for open discussion among attendees, and we hope to spark a lively debate about the possibilities of activist research at institutions of higher education, as well as to prompt consideration of the potential that lies in cross-generational and student-teacher collaboration.

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

As always, education is an ideological battleground. Decisions about what students are expected to study and how they are expected to react to current events are shaped by tensions between different political and pedagogical philosophies. Teachers who invite students to directly examine the nature of ideology are often dismissed as “brainwashing” students, while the status quo is unproblematized and treated as neutral. This session will continue a discussion started in the first session (Addressing Ideology in the Classroom Pt. 1). The facilitator and two presenters from the first session will review the key issues that have been raised. Then two new presenters will make brief remarks. The first new presenter is a high school History teacher, and the second is a teaching artist. At that point, the facilitator will moderate an open dialogue between the presenters and those in attendance. The focus will be how teachers can help students productively engage in analysis of the ideological dimensions of key topics (e.g., xenophobia and immigration policy, the representation of minorities in literature, the history of US imperialism, etc.). As part of this conversation, we expect that participants will examine the ideological nature of education itself under neoliberalism and share suggestions for helping students critique the educations they are receiving.

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Critical pedagogy, broadly imagined, aims to move students and teachers alike from engaging in ideological analysis to taking action to change the world. What this might look like varies, depending upon the context, the nature of the students and the approach of the teacher. A key issue is determining when a teacher can and should make ideology an explicit focal point of discussion and investigation, and when ideology is best addressed in a more implicit manner. The three panelists will present examples drawn from their own practice that demonstrate how they navigate this tension, with the goal of opening a discussion with those in attendance about addressing ideology in the classroom. The first presenter is a junior high school social studies teacher who works in an affluent suburban district, and he will highlight how the varying courses he teaches provide differing opportunities for investigation of ideology. The second presenter is a high school history teacher who works in a working-class school district, and he will examine how the nature of a classroom (e.g., inclusion vs. resource) helps shape the opportunities he has to address various topics. The third presenter is a professor at a school of education, and he will examine the ways in higher education works to constrain discussion of ideology. After these brief presentations, those in attendance will be asked to share their own experiences, analyses and questions about addressing ideology in the classroom. These will be taken up and further elaborated in the second workshop.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

CHARISE PIMENTEL

U.S. society is plagued with racial injustices, and the schooling experiences of children, are no exception to this reality. In an attempt to examine how teachers address race in their multicultural education classrooms, this presenter will introduce and analyze various well-intended teaching dispositions that teachers often embrace, but are nonetheless limited in their abilities to address the racial inequities students face in schools. These teaching dispositions include the “The Detached Teacher,” “The Deficit Thinker,” and the “Rugged Multicultural Teacher”. Within this analysis, the presenter will demonstrate that even the most robust multicultural teaching agendas are often limited in their capacity to transform social justice issues. Finally, this presenter will provide suggestions on how to conceptualize teachers’ multicultural work, so that we may understand both the possibilities and the impossibilities of addressing race in a multicultural education class.

ALYSSA CROW

Addressing Race and Power through Language Ideology/Attitudes in the Classroom: Revisiting Critical Language Scholarship

Literature in composition and critical language studies identify progressive moments of interest in language equity/rights in the classroom followed by back-lash and a return to conservative practices/values. These shifts mirror political shifts more broadly and illustrate the connection between language attitudes in the classroom and racist, classist, gendered systems of oppression in our country. Take for example, the political climate of the 60s and 70s that produced Students’ Rights To Their Own Language (SRTOL), followed by the conservative return to mechanical correctness and “back-to-basics” in the 80s. As our current political context is marked by a conservative majority in the House and Senate, the increasing incidence of hate crimes nationally, and the rolling back of social gains, it is important for teachers to prepare for increased dominant/standard language ideologies in our classrooms so we can respond appropriately. To navigate these complexities and provide support for one another, this presenter will invite a discussion of dominant language ideologies as expressed in the writing classroom and the language attitudes/stances that support (or reject) critical language engagement and equitable language practice with students.

OCTAVIO PIMENTEL

Not Making America Great: Addressing Racist Rhetoric Against
Mexicans and African Americans

With little doubt, we live in a racist society. Although the hatred/fear affects all people, this hatred/fear especially targets Brown and Black people. This presenter will address the “Trump Effect” by examining various racist incidents against Brown/Black individuals over the last few years and theorize why these incidents are becoming more frequent. This presentation will feature videos, online posts, pictures, and tweets that capture the severity and explicitness of many racial incidents. More importantly, this presenter will posit the roles of researchers, rhetoricians, and writing instructors to confront these critical issues in their classrooms, with their colleagues, and in their research.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Law enforcement surveillance, targeting of undocumented members of our communities, Congress' repeal of Internet Privacy laws, and breaches of information held by major corporations - these have been seemingly non-stop reminders of the risks to our information and personal privacy. Quite often, it is the least empowered within our communities that have the least protections and face the greatest potential harm from these threats. If it ever was, it is no longer enough to simply offer assistance. Sustainable community defense requires a commitment to empowerment. Using EFF's Security Education Companion, and digital security training as one example, this workshop for activists, educators and technologists will explore how we can move beyond the service model of aid and commit to supporting the development of new skills and superhero teams from within affected communities.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

What’s Marx got to do with it? Everything. Public school is where race and class come together: it will take a class struggle strategy to fight the joint Democratic and Republican capitalist drive to bust the unions, privatize the schools, and target immigrant families for deportation. Panel and discussion will focus on major issues in teacher organizing: eyewitness accounts of spreading teacher strikes in West Virginia and Oklahoma, and what program to break the stranglehold of the union bureaucracy; the need for labor mobilizations to stop I.C.E. raids and arrests; teacher strikes from Oaxaca to Brazil to the U.S.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Society is sickening! Panelists will explore how neo-liberalism,capitalism's most recent incarnation,shapes personal and group development and,how we are organizing alternatives. We will discuss contemporary educational institutions, psychotherapeutic theories,practices and Big Pharma;bullying,and the push to conform. We will describe the "lost connections" to self and others, as well as the "neo-liberal personality"-the ultimate "cool" capitalist. We will end with a discussion of "radical hope" and the need for a new imaginary that advances a new concept of selfhood within the construct of connection to others and groups.