Under Siege

Harman, Sheila

           Gibson, S. & Royal, C. ( 2017). The Schools: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Under Siege, Teachers College Record, Vol. 119.


Learning about what is missing in education, and what we have had to give up as a result of educational reform, is never a particularly uplifting topic. The endless reports of low test scores and a widening achievement gap always points to the need for more accountability, yet our schools are blindsided by budget cuts or state takeovers that limit the teaching of some of the basic instruction, like culturally relevant pedagogy (CPR) that has been proven to engage learners. Reading about what has happened across the nation, what happens in districts with federal takeovers, and about the whittling away of a type of teaching called CPR is hard to read, but the authors provide examples from Philadelphia and outline historic mandates, like NCLB (No Child Left Behind) while telling an ongoing story that needs to be heard. They present real and hypothetical research and weave in details about powerhouse players, like Arlene Ackerman, a SDP board member, who managed to hopscotch across the nation pushing a hardline reform. The authors scrutinize new school programs and their attack on the teaching of social political consciousness. They believe, that as educators, meaning all of us, we are trading hyper-standardization for cultural pride tenants in an effort to homogenize students.  They explain that there is no quantitative research to back up the current trends in educational reform. The article sends a clear message about how cultural analysis lessons have replaced political analysis lessons and why that should not be acceptable.

Rating: I think many of us should read this article and take note of the authors. Their next step maybe a made for television docu-drama, yes, that good!