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Assault on Kids

Ahlquist, Roberta / Gorski, Paul C. / Montaño, Theresa (eds.)

Assault on Kids

How Hyper-Accountability, Corporatization, Deficit Ideologies, and Ruby Payne are Destroying Our Schools

Series: Counterpoints - Volume 402

Year of Publication: 2011

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2011. X, 257 pp., num. graphs
ISBN 978-1-4331-1228-7 pb.  (Softcover)
ISBN 978-1-4331-1229-4 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.390 kg, 0.860 lbs

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Book synopsis

Hyper-accountability, corporatization, deficit ideology, and Ruby Payne’s preparation of teachers to comply with these and other atrocities are not merely markers of philosophical shifts in education. They are manifestations of a neoliberal remaking of public schooling into a private and corporate enterprise. Collectively, these trends are seen not just as an imposition, but as an assault on quality pedagogy; an assault on democratic ideals of equity and social justice; and an assault on kids compelled to participate simply because they are public school students. This edited collection is a response by critically-minded educators, activists, and scholars – both a reaction to and a call to action against these vilifications. It is critical reading for students, professors, administrators, and policy makers involved in public education.


Contents: Annette Henry: Foreword – Roberta Ahlquist/Paul C. Gorski/Theresa Montaño: Introduction – Roberta Ahlquist: The ‘Empire’ Strikes Back via a Neoliberal Agenda: Confronting the Legacies of Colonialism – Sue Books: What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About «The Achievement Gap» – Ann Berlak: Can Standardized Teacher Performance Assessment Identify Highly Qualified Teachers? – Brian Lack: Anti-Democratic Militaristic Education: An Overview and Critical Analysis of KIPP Schools – Richard Lakes/Paul McLennan/Jennifer Sauer/Mary Anne Smith: Exposing the Myths of the Corporate City: Popular Education and Political Activism in Atlanta – Lisa Martin: Ground Zero in a Corporate Classroom – Virginia Lea: Why Aren’t We More Enraged? – Paul C. Gorski: Unlearning Deficit Ideology and the Scornful Gaze: Thoughts on Authenticating the Class Discourse in Education – Monique Redeaux: A Framework for Maintaining White Privilege: A Critique of Ruby Payne – Theresa Montaño/Rosalinda Quintanar-Sarellana: Undoing Ruby Payne and Other Deficit Views of English Language Learners – Julie Keown-Bomar/Deborah Pattee: What’s Class Got to Do with It? A Pedagogical Response to a Deficit Perspective.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Roberta Ahlquist has been a professor at San Jose State for over 30 years, supervising prospective high school teachers. Her areas of research include critical race theory, unlearning racism, critical multicultural education, indigenous education, and postcolonial studies.
Paul C. Gorski is the founder of EdChange and an assistant professor in integrative studies at George Mason University, where he teaches classes on social justice education, economic justice, environmental justice, and animal rights. He has published three books and more than 30 essays on these topics in Educational Leadership, Teachers College Record, Teaching and Teacher Education, Rethinking Schools, Teaching Tolerance, Equity & Excellence in Education, Intercultural Education, and Multicultural Education.
Theresa Montaño is an associate professor of Chicana and Chicano studies at California State University Northridge. She teaches courses to prospective teachers in the area of equity and diversity in school, Chicano/a childhood and adolescence, and research in Chicano/a education. Her areas of research include the schooling of Chicano/a-Latino/a students; critical pedagogy; teacher activism; and bilingual/ELL instruction.


«Finally a book that eschews the timid talk and middle class politeness that typically characterizes academic education analyses. If the other side can be ‘mad as hell and not want to take it anymore,’ imagine how mad the people who are demonized and victimized by draconian and regressive policies are. Bravo to the editors for assembling such a courageous collection.» (Gloria Ladson-Billings, Professor and Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
«So-called ‘solutions’ for improving public education interconnect in troubling ways – as is revealed insightfully and compellingly in this new and timely book. Ahlquist, Gorski, and Montaño have assembled an impressive collection of analyses that help us to unmask what are mere symptoms of broader movements to widen educational disparities, and to imagine alternatives and interventions with insight and conviction. ‘Assault on Kids’ should cause us to pause, and reimagine, and should be read immediately.» ( Kevin Kumashiro, Author of ‘The Seduction of Common Sense: How the Right has Framed the Debate on America’s Schools’; President-Elect of the National Association for Multicultural Education)
«These are troubling times for classroom teachers and for public education. Alhquist, Gorski, and Montaño have collected a series of essays that add the provocative and vibrant voices of practitioners who face the everyday realities of ‘hyper accountability’ policies, programs and practices. These voices shed light on the dire consequences of high stakes tests, a narrow curriculum, and of the perilous ‘reform’ efforts currently eroding the very fabric of public education. I encourage all teachers, practicing and preservice, to read this book and to build a movement to keep the ‘public’ in public education.» (David Sanchez, current President of the California Teachers Association)
«The editors and authors of this volume dare to re-frame current ‘debates’ about the nature of U.S. public schooling. Dialogues about policy and practice have devolved into sound-byte chats about increasingly narrow curricular standards, ever more efficient – rather than effective – assessments of student learning, and endless means through which teachers’ work is de-professionalized. In this context, we need the mindset offered by this volume in order to counter dangerous, de-humanizing trends. This text is a primer of our best thinking about how to make our public schools places where a public is made.» (Kristien Zenkov, Associate Professor, George Mason University)


Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education. Vol. 402
General Editor: Shirley R. Steinberg