September 23, 2009

Theorist, educational activist to speak at SIUC

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An internationally known theorist, educational activist and vocal critic of America’s New Right will talk about markets, standards, God and inequality as they relate to education in a free lecture set for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library.

Michael W. Apple, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies, also will meet informally that day with students, faculty and staff of the College of Education and Human Services, which is sponsoring his visit.

Apple’s lecture will focus on points he made in his book on the topic, first published by RoutledgeFalmer in 2001 and updated in 2006. Building on his decades-long interest in the New Right, Apple’s book outlines the cultural, economic, political and social forces that have transformed how and what we teach our children and suggests some means of countering those forces.

Apple believes that market proponents, standards-driven educational advocates, religiously oriented home-schoolers and a segment of the middle class keenly attuned to educational policies that help maintain its social and economic advantages have clubbed together to promote conservative interests where education is concerned. While members of this alliance may not agree on every issue, their largely united stand both promotes American race, class and gender divisions and makes them worse.

Traditional forces from the left -- globalization protesters, peace workers, environmentalists, feminists, labor organizers and the like -- could unite to counter the conservative alliance, Apple thinks. He also thinks an alliance between the left and the more progressive elements of the right centering on common interests could achieve the same end, though it would require some caution.