Critical Essays on Teaching, Learning and Leading in the 21st Century
Eleanor J. Blair
Today, we see educators regularly trying to reconcile accountability efforts with mounting evidence of the failures of large educational bureaucracies to meet the needs of increasingly large numbers of children coming from less advantaged, diverse backgrounds. Critical theory provides a framework for reconsidering the aims and purposes of education generally, but more specifically, it provides a guide for the kinds of questions that we need to be asking regarding how and why we serve some groups more effectively than others. Critical theory embraces the notion that teaching and learning are value-infused activities that require a critical analysis of attempts to provide all children with educational opportunities that facilitate equal access to knowledge and is culturally responsive to the needs and values of diverse groups. Public schools must be held accountable for their failures and be required to initiate a dialogue that revisits the public’s commitment to the democratic ideals represented by American public education and seeks to negotiate a new vision of public education, one that seeks to address the needs of all children, not just a few.
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