Pin It
Favorite

Another Brick? 

This is how Pink Floyd says that the country's education system is messed up: "All in all, you're just another brick in the wall."

This is how renowned academic thinker Peter McLaren says it: "The political space that education occupies today continues to de-emphasize the struggle for teacher and student empowerment; furthermore ... education programs are designed to create individuals who operate in the interests of the state, whose social function is primarily to sustain and legitimate the status-quo social order."

It's not quite as catchy, and it doesn't rhyme, but it's the kind of dense theorizing that has made McLaren one of the most important thinkers in education, and that made officials at Washington State University's School of Education want to make him the centerpiece of this weekend's International Globalization, Diversity and Education Conference in Pullman. (McLaren was also scheduled to speak at Gonzaga on Wednesday.)

The long-haired, tattoo-stained McLaren, currently a professor at UCLA, is generally regarded as one of the architects of critical pedagogy, an approach to education that teaches students to think critically about dominating ideologies, to question authority and resist individual and systematic oppression.

That fits right in with the focus of the weekend's conference, says Dr. Bernardo Gallegos, a professor at WSU. "The focus of the conference is to engage in dialogues around issues of diversity -- of ethnicity and race and gender, but also diversity of ideas, of regions and perspectives," he says. "[McLaren] is one of the most well-known writers on global education. He lays out a really good social critique that oftentimes people don't want to hear."

People like the members of UCLA's Bruin Alumni Association, which has made news of late for paying students to snitch on left-wing professors. McLaren -- a member of the Industrial Workers of the World -- comes in at No. 1 on the group's list of "Dirty Thirty" professors. "Everything that flows from Peter McLaren's mouth and pen is deeply, inextricably radical," the group's Web site reads.

Of course, not everybody sees that as a bad thing. McLaren's landmark book, Life in Schools, which combines a lengthy treatise on educational theory with a sort of memoir about teaching in inner-city schools in Toronto, has been named by a panel of experts as one of the world's 12 most significant writings on educational theory. His work has been translated into 15 languages. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by a university in Finland, another honorary degree by an institute in Guadalajara, and two Latin American countries are working on pedagogical foundations in his honor -- including the Instituto Peter McLaren in Argentina.

He may not have Pink Floyd's guitar licks, but that's about as close to rock stardom as an academic can get.

Peter McLaren will speak at the International Globalization, Diversity and Education Conference at WSU's Compton Union Building in Pullman on Friday, March 10, at 4:45 pm. Tickets: $20. Call (509) 335-2811.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Odds And Ends
  • Odds And Ends

    Idaho lawmakers are pulled in lots of directions; plus, SPD weighs a "culture audit"
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Four Days A Week
  • Four Days A Week

    Idaho schools that dropped one day a week from their schedule are saving a little money — but at what cost?
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • A County Ombudsman?
  • A County Ombudsman?

    Weighing the costs and benefits of oversight at the Spokane County Sheriff's Office
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
MediaFest 2015

MediaFest 2015 @ KSPS Public TV

Wed., April 1

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Joel Smith

Most Commented On

  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • New Blood

    Candidates are launching bids for Spokane City Council and could bring big changes to city government
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


Comment


Publisher's Note


marijuana


long reads


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation