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Working for Social Justice Inside and Outside the Classroom

A Community of Students, Teachers, Researchers, and Activists


Edited By Nancye E. McCrary and E. Wayne Ross

What were once distinct professions for serving others and building knowledge are now communities of workers struggling against a tide of increasingly unregulated capitalism that is being fed by human greed. Teachers have become education workers, joining a working class that is rapidly falling behind and that is increasingly being silenced by the power elite who control nearly all the wealth that once supported a thriving middle class. Working for Social Justice Inside and Outside the Classroom delivers critical counter-narratives aimed at resisting the insatiable greed of a few and supporting a common good for most. The book is dedicated to hopeful communities working against perpetual war, the destruction of our natural environment, increasing poverty, and social inequalities as they fight to preserve democratic ideals in a just and sustainable world. Written by some of the most influential thinkers of our time, this collection is a tapestry of social justice issues woven in and out of formal and informal education.
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Chapter Three: Against Obedience


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Against Obedience

Susan Ohanian

It’s rather mind-boggling to find myself in McGuffey Hall—to find myself, the only teacher in my school who refused to use a basal reader, in such close proximity to William Holmes McGuffey. With the publication in 1836 of the most famous school textbook of all time, The McGuffey Reader, McGuffey, a professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, planted a strong seed for a national curriculum. Estimates posit the sales of McGuffey Readers sold between 1836 and 1960 at 122 million copies, putting it in a category with the Bible and Webster’s Dictionary.

The McGuffey Reader was used in 37 states. Forty-six states have accepted the Common Core bribe, that is, 46 states plus Mariana Islands. I’d like to see Common Core consigned to the Mariana Trench. I admit I didn’t know what that was until, when writing a review of E. D. Hirsh’s Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, I carried the book on my travels and amazed and alarmed strangers on airplanes, in hospital waiting rooms, and in hotel lobbies about items on the list: What do you know about Leyden jars and when did you know it? How are your Mach numbers? Is your amicus curiae in working order? My husband was the only person who could identify the Mariana Trench, and he was quick to admit he acquired this arcane bit of information from...

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