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Hypocrisy and Ethnic Studies in Arizona

January 25, 2012

Prof. Jimbeau Pickett

What is education for, and who should it benefit?

These are familiar questions for those of us here at the UfSO where we try to emphasize that it is the learner who should be the ultimate beneficiary of education rather than the ego of the instructor, purse and prestige of the institution, or the stability of the existing political order. However, in today’s educational institutions (from the prisons where we grow-up learning about discipline to the factories of the corporate university where we discover productivity) all of these things are equated. What is in the best interest of the student is that he or she be able to embark on a career path upon graduation and become a successful contributor to ‘society’. Thus we need to coddle our teachers to get those references, engage in the research for which there is funding, and all the while not upset the powers that be lest they decide to revoke all that which they have so graciously given us as a reward for dutifully perpetuating the status quo. Maybe this is all a bit fatalistic, but it serves the purpose of establishing a standard model of education existing today from which we can differentiate ‘antagonistic educations’. These are curriculums which cultivate students not interested in becoming catalysts for the reproduction of the current social form, but rather in bringing that form into crisis through its critique; being epistemic terrorists if you will. Yet, although ascribed little to no immediate value in the ‘official’ realm of the social (because they don’t generate financial profit), what sort of historical and political significance do such educations have? In the most recent contribution to the “Writings Section” our esteemed colleague Prof. Jimbeau Pickett looks at just such questions in relation to the recent ban of ethnic studies programs in Arizona by Superintendent John Huppenthal, who we can see below furiously working to create further opportunities for The American Dream.

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