The tragic deaths of 26 people shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., included 20 young children and six educators. Many more children might have been killed or injured had it not been for the brave and decisive actions of the teachers in the school. These events have led to praising the teachers as heroes, as well as revealing how important educators are in shielding children from imminent threat, and preparing them to negotiate a world that is becoming more precarious, more dangerous, and more divisive.
However, it is ironic that during these times, educators are being praised when they have so often in the past been attacked by right-wing conservatives, religious fundamentalists, and centrist democrats since the beginning of the 1980s, being labeled as the new welfare queens. With many changes and debates going on in the field of education, teachers are often discredited and ignored, leaving reforms go about without input of educators.
Unlike many past educational reform movements, the present call for educational change presents both a threat and a challenge to public school teachers that appear unprecedented. The threat comes in the form of a series of educational reforms that display little confidence in the ability of public school teachers to provide intellectual and moral leadership for our youth. Henry Giroux argues that during these times, educators should be viewed and thought of as intellectuals, and in doing so, it’ll be possible to rethink and reform the traditions and conditions that have prevented teachers from assuming their full potential as active, reflective scholars and practitioners.
Title: The War Against Teachers as Public Intellectuals in Dark Times,
Source:Truth-Out, December 17, 2012,
Author: Henry A. Giroux
Student Researcher: Alejandro Tinajero, Sonoma State University
Community Evaluator: Sara Craige, Santa Rosa, Educator and Yesenia Salas-Chavira, Santa Rosa, Educator