ON FIGHTING BACK AGAINST FASCIST ASSUALTS AGAINST PUBLIC EDUCATION
Please Help With this Important Project
Authoritarians hate public education. They always have. The source of their animus is obvious. A truly educated Demos would certainly reject authoritarianism. For more than half a century the authoritarians have made every effort to turn public education away from John Dewey’s progressive concepts of inquiry, child-centeredness, and democratic education to one in which children passively receive knowledge from their authoritarian teachers.
Of course, professional educators reject this paradigm. For this reason, authoritarians have put great effort into gaming education in such a way as to enforce conformity to authoritarian principles. When I entered college to become a teacher, the emphasis was on privatization and charter schools. Regressives were pushing to water down science education by pushing “Intelligent Design Theory” as an equivalent to the theory of evolution. They promoted nonsensical arguments such as “teach the controversy”, inferring that science teachers were biased if they only taught evolution without balancing their curriculum with superstitious nonsense.
About a quarter-century ago, authoritarians under the leadership of the Bush Brothers, pushed anti-democratic “accountability” principles by instituting high stakes testing and punitive funding schemes tied to nebulous VAM scores. Public schools, under such programs, would be required to dumb down their curricula and promote stupidity or run the risk of “low test scores” and losing funding.
Yet, this was not enough. We teachers still, somehow, managed to educate our students despite every effort to make this impossible.
Meanwhile, the authoritarian movement has managed to centralize its power into a proto-fascist political bloc. This bloc empowers their political operatives, men like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, to institute repressive measures without apology. Previous to the Orange Messiah, authoritarians had to couch their goals in democratic language. That is no longer the case. Today, authoritarians can pass laws that are specifically fascist in nature while suffering no political consequences. Indeed, they have every expectation that they will be rewarded for bringing fascism to the United States.
And again, public classrooms are ground zero in this attack. State-level legislation is being enacted all over the country to censor and silence any semblance of critical thought, inclusiveness, tolerance, or self-realization in the classroom. The selected Boogeyman is Critical Race Theory, but also Marxism, Feminism, and the “Gay Agenda.” Students must be protected from leftist teachers intent on brainwashing them. Fascists or fascist sympathizers like Ron DeSantis are marketed as protecting the youth–especially privileged white youth–from learning anything that might ask them to think critically about their society.
I’m a public school teacher in Florida and I now find myself in a position where I must find subversive ways to teach my students. I’m not alone. Teachers all over this and other regressive states find themselves in a conflict between their desire to do well by their students and abide by the ethics of their profession, and their need to provide for their families, pay the mortgage, put food on the table.
For this reason, I’ve taken it upon myself to create this website dedicated to what I’m calling Dangerous Knowledge. The site has a couple of goals. The first is to provide a philosophical framework for teaching controversial topics and justifying a democratic bias over an authoritarian bias in instruction. Most importantly, however, it’s my intent to provide a repository for Dangerous Knowledge that teachers can direct their students to without actively “teaching” any of the contents. Hey, students happen upon websites all the time. In my classroom, I include a QR Code with specific instructions NOT to scan the code.
I plan on creating multiple pages on this website, each dedicated to teaching some element of dangerous knowledge. Each page will be designed as a course on a particular topic broken up into individual “lessons” for each. The first course focuses on Critical Race Theory. The goal is didactic. The course will include critique as well as support. Down the line, the site will include courses on Forbidden History, Marx, Comprehensive Sex Education, Gender, etc. All the big fascist targets. The site will also include a blog with explainers and commentaries.
This is a big project, and I could use some help. If you are an educator who cares about democratic education, whether you are a professional or not, and you have something that you can contribute to this endeavor, please do. Getting this site going, with everything else on my plate, has been a long process. With help, I can speed it up and create a comprehensive site within short order. If you would like to help, go to the contact page and offer your ideas and/or submissions.