A Community of Students, Teachers, Researchers, and Activists
Edited By Nancye E. McCrary and E. Wayne Ross
Chapter Sixteen: Youth-Led Organizations, the Arts, and the 411 Initiative for Change in Canada: Critical Pedagogy for the 21st Century
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Youth-Led Organizations, the Arts and the 411 Initiative for Change in Canada: Critical Pedagogy for the 21st Century
Brad J. Porfilio and Michael Watz
The implementation of commercialized and militaristic policies within K–12 schools across North America have made it arduous for even the most committed, transformative school leaders and educators to guide their students to reflect critically upon the nature of their social world and to gain the courage and skills necessary to join other cultural workers in the struggle to eliminate social inequalities in schools and in the wider society. Many schoolteachers, especially social actors who mentor and educate students in urban contexts, are situated in debilitated, unsafe, and unsanitary educational environments, where their students are criminalized and demonized through an array of surveillance equipment, armed security guards, military recruitment stations, and draconian “get tough on youth” zero-tolerance policies. They also educate youth amid overcrowded educational structures where they must implement “teacher proof” drill and kill forms of instruction and assessment in order to ensure their students perform adequately on a battery of corporately-produced examinations (Casella, 2008; Kozol, 2006; Porfilio & Carr, 2008; Ross & Gibson, 2007; Saltman & Gabbard, 2010). Among an array of reprisals, failing to perform well on the exams can result in teachers losing their jobs, closing of schools, corporate or state takeover of underperforming schools, as well as the confiscation of vital resources from already cash-strapped educational structures.
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