Zeus Leonardo, that is. Co-author of “Smartness as Property: A Critical Exploration of Intersections Between Whiteness and Disability Studies” which concludes “that smartness is nothing but false and oppressive, and as such, attempts to theoretically rearticulate or rehabilitate smartness may serve to illuminate, but ultimately fail to dissolve, the normative center of schooling.”
The not-so-Greek Leonardo can be found at Berkeley in the Graduate School of Education, one of the bright centers of educational theory. You know, the stuff fed to teachers and passed on to your children. Blessed be the government.
Zeus tells us “smartness” is an “ideological system” and should not be encouraged, and he must be right because he is at one of the world’s best universities. Unlike many academics and to his eternal credit, Leonardo’s writings indicate he practices what he preaches.
This work, and many others like it, appear in the Teachers College Record, a portal for the school jealously close to Columbia. If you want avant-garde in education, this site is it.
Take the featured article “‘Coming Out Crip’ in Inclusive Education” by Nirmala Erevelles. She frowns that teachers aren’t talking about who—or what—students want to have sex with, particularly disabled students. She doesn’t want any kid feeling that its desires are odd. Even if they’re odd.
Thus the “crippin” theory of “inclusive education”, point one of which is “Claiming disability and a disability identity politics while nonetheless nurturing a necessary contestatory relationship to that identity…” You bet.
She doesn’t like abstinence—but then who does. Apparently she never figured out that liking abstinence is not the point of abstinence. But let that pass. Return instead to the “queer disabled”, a double-whammy category. She quotes “scholar” Alison Kafer: “It is in imagining the stories disabled queers might tell each other about intimacy, touch, desire, and identity that…provides inspiration, guidance, and ground for thinking” [ellipsis original].
If the reader is able to discover a point to Erevelles’s piece other than she really likes to talk about sex, and wishes everybody would like it just as much as she, he is invited to write his discovery below in the comments. A ten-point bonus will be awarded to the first reader who can translate Erevelles’s theme into English.
Switch to “Teaching Bodies in Place” by Jones and Woglom which argues to “engage students in recognizing themselves as full-bodied and cultured beings”. Looks like Joes and Woglom didn’t talk to Erevelles first, who would react in horror to that value-laden phrase “full-bodied.” Nobody’s perfect.
Jones and Woglom did their study on a “community bus ride” to “ask questions about how bodies and places interact with one another to produce sense-making about people, places, and the purposes of education.” Conclusion? Turns out students need to learn their bodies are “central sites for critical change inside and outside institutions.” I wouldn’t have guessed. Would have you?
I didn’t dare read “Emasculation Blues: Black Male Teachers’ Perspectives on Gender and Power in the Teaching Profession” by Ed Brockenbrough. I also cringe in sympathy whenever I see a guy on TV take one to the particulars.
But I couldn’t pass up “Hip-Hop, the ‘Obama Effect,’ and Urban Science Education” by Emdin and Lee who “examined qualitative data illustrating the enactment of hip-hopness or a hip-hop identity in urban science classrooms.” I am not enough of a rhyme master to do a rap on the quantum chromodynamics, but I do recall Tom Lehrer’s The Elements.
Emdin and Lee: “The findings indicate that when teachers bring hip-hop into their science instruction, certain markers of interest and involvement that were previously absent from science classrooms become visible.” They don’t say which, but there you have it.
Here are the words which you can use to discover the “hip-hopness” of QM: strong interaction, color force, top and bottom quarks, gluons, hadrons, protons, neutrons, pions, baryon (this can be used to enhance the ‘Obama Effect’). A full 100 points to the best hippy hoppy rap.
It’s not all bad at Teachers College. For example, there is the article “On Pretending to Listen” by Burbules and Rice. What more useful skill could an attendee of that institution have?
Update Jim data mined this treasure from the same vein:
“The paper suggests that in the transmogrification of old to new eugenic discourses, disability becomes reinscribed as an outlaw ontology reinvesting eugenic discourse in a new language that maintains an ableist normativity.” (The Hunt for Disability: The New Eugenics and the Normalization of School Children)
Thanks to reader for Jim Fedako for uncovering this site for us.