5-5:45 (Potomac Ballroom A and B/Convention Center, Level 2)
Afternoon Conference Pleneray Session
“Teach the Children, Free the Land: The Political Economy of Public Education”
Mari J. Matsuda, J.D., Professor of Law, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawi’i—Mãnoa, Hawai’i ( pioneer in critical race theory; top, most influential Asian Americans)
• Loves coming to the conference – she can tell it’s NCORE. It is a convention of people who are dedicated to the heart and spirit of the country, rich in its diversity. It’s not a convention in Arizona
• Currently working on a book on the state of public education – history, economy, race and subordination and class
• 3 worlds: (1) greed is good: plow orchards and build macmansions to people that can’t afford them; bail out too big to fail ponzi schemes that are too large to fail, the $ coming from the workers; experts say that this is not suppose to happened; (2) greed is good lite: a modest national health care system, leaving all intact –pharmaceutical, hospitals, etc; business as usual; give cash for clunkers; what you can pull together for yourself will be yours – up and down and malaise: (3) just beyond our grasp: expected to work hard, but the market does not make rules, we do it under the Constitution and build a democracy – we choose how to regulate markets; we will impose reasonable regulations on the food industry; we will propose reasonable regulations on oil and coal so that they can’t kill our oceans and our land.
• Topic: if we could take hold of our government, we can start investing in our needs – education, health care, homes, etc., everything that’s as important as militarism. This place is imperative, because our nation’s survival dependents on an educated citizen that can build our future.
• We’re losing minority enrollment because of the economy. As a critical race theorist, I ask what race has to do with it and I consider all forms of subordination intersecting in our schools.
• No more orchestra, no glee club, no more play – it’s all gone from public schools.
• What happened?
• In DC, in public schools, mouse feces in closets, no heat, so students have to learn to write and ware mittens
• To avoid social problems (critical race theory) is to place them on the shoulders of a disenfranchised group
• Reagan cut social investments using images of poor, homeless people of color, although most recepients were white
• What does it mean when we say, “They just can’t learn?” We have to keep “our” students from “their” students
• Most schools are “black”—black teachers, black students, etc. – all coding, encompassing all ethnic groups of color
• Derek Bell – when people say urban, we mean “black”; it happens at the uncoscious levels: “We can’t just throw money at the problem because it will be waste. The problem is waste and inefficiency.”
• The presuption that they will fail is racist—they don’t have what it takes to succeed
• No form of subordination is without cause: everyone can read, write and succed
• Where is the interconnection of forms of subordination that cause this
• Gender is less obvious: look for gender where it’s hard to see: we swim in the objectification of women. Where is gender of subordination in education?
• Second wave feminists were involved in practice, though what they asked for became theory, one such area is public vs private, so women originally entered the public in private sphere jobs
• Ideology of separate spheres carried over, after the second wave
• Post New Deal Era marked a sharp decline in women wages – short paying women and unfunding schools; we have decreased the total amount of money put into the infrastructure
• Broken systems generate costs, inefficiencies generate costs – it sends a message to students, which is education is not important. Feminist take: education of children is woman’s work; in the middle class, women still pick up the work. Women are doing the job that the state is suppose to do.
• Well endowed private schools do spend money on infrastructure, things are fixed
• Poar New Deal generation have the same sense of entitlement, but now the parents have to pick up the slack: what will it take to stop accomadating and resisting all efforts to divest the public sector
• In deep economic era, there is no public outcry at the abuse of the working class
• Capital will make consessions to the worker if it has no choice; it responds with just enough to quiet it down
• During the last depression, people did fight back – people marched, 20,000 strong, on to capital hill (unemployed veterans of WW1, run out by tanks and Army personal on horseback) – this image gave us the New Deal (note: we never hear this narrative)
• Three decades later, poor women, stood up demanding demanding for their children
• Power concedes to the demands of the poor; we have models of multiracial divesting and as educators we need to retrieve them
• Now we see public education as expendable: the country belongs to us and we have the power to make the country strong
• We need a new deal for education
• DuBois: a deep hunger for learning among those we consider the outcasts
• We have protoypes of multiracial, small schools that work
• We know what works; it’s not a mystery, so it’s proof that we are making a deliberate choice to have urban schools fail. Charters, etc., words that supplant the kind of integration that’s needed
• We have become unknowing survilists in terms of education; we’re taking on education as a personal problem. But people must be called back to the table to re-do what we’ve left behind
• Every child is our own – feed, teach, shelter, embrace every child with the love human beings are entitled. This is when we’ll see peace. An investment has to be made – and it’s a big investment
(note: we do make this investment, but it separates those that can afford it from those that can’t; standardization is what we do when we’re aiming low)