You’ve Been Hoodwinked! Part I

I am back from my unanticipated and extended hiatus. It’s a long story, and someday I’ll tell it. Presently, I believe the time is right for an all-out revolution in and for sound educational practices and policy designed primarily by the people that are on the ground; namely the teachers.

There’s a phrase from the movie Malcolm X that invokes my intrigue as to plausible reasons for such a high turnover in the education discipline. There’s a phrase at the 1:57 mark that Malcolm X (Denzel Washington) says: “You’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray…”

Mary Mack and Miss Muffet (M & M) were hoodwinked, bamboozled and led astray from the moment they stepped into Mainstream Culture University (MCU), and majored in Education, in which the expected end results are to persuade people (typically of a lower socioeconomic status) to align themselves and conform to societal expectations like most of mainstream America does…at least most of the time.

Poor M & M. They spent 5½ at MCU going through rigorous course work, pre-teaching field experiences and the big, powerful practicum before they are granted their degree that says their content knowledge is all sufficient for every student from every background. They’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled and led astray.

Does M & Ms’ professors really know the implication of the Common Core (to the bone) standards for corporations and how some school districts is bowing down to the golden image of funding? Probably not. How much input have these professors had in designing teacher evaluation forms that capture the spirit of what teachers can realistically do in the span of a school day, and not tear their hair out? M & M have been hoodwinked, bamboozled and led astray.

I’ve got an even better one. How many of these professors got in front of their teacher candidates and told them the less than ideal teaching conditions many of them are headed for? After all, there are only so many elite teaching positions in upper middle class America and short of retirement or death, not many teachers are leaving those positions.

I can do one even better. Did our esteemed ivory tower sages mention that the students they will encounter are not necessarily enamored with their mainstream American status, ideology or privilege? Of course not, for that would open up an uncomfortable discussion about inequalities in our socioeconomic. We would have to discuss the not-so-hidden caste system of “them” and “us” that permeates the very fabric of our purported casteless society.

The only people that would be so inclined as to shed light on such a system that deliberately perpetuates “isms” are those that are enlightened enough to see past the smoke and mirrors that has been artfully presented. M & M and anyone who ascribes to MSU’s philosophy of teaching and their learners have been hoodwinked, bamboozled and led astray.

It would be cruel to point out all of these deficits in teacher training programs and not outline some ways to move towards systemic change that will promote growth in teacher training programs, retain the good teachers for longer than three years, and most importantly, inspire students to forge a path towards a productive life. That will occur in the next entry. Remember this; people see through their eyes, not with them. Everything you see is filtered through mindsets and lived experiences.

I have been working diligently on my website. I still have a bit of work to do, but it’s (mostly) functional. Drop in any time; you’re always welcome.


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