Schools play two roles in a democracy:
- Maintain what we know about the world and our experience in it.
- Subvert the powers that limit our human experience.
There are times to maintain knowledge – to help students discover the joys of the water cycle, to investigate the plots of history, and explore the creativity that’s known as author’s craft.
And then, there are times when subversion is the necessary stance. It’s necessary, because ideologies come to full force in governing bodies that can (either intentionally or unintentionally) oppress, silence, or neglect individuals and subgroups of humans.
Largely, this occurs to minority (racial, religious, cultural, and lifestyle) subgroups.
When educational systems continue the narratives (in literature, policy, practice, etc) associated with oppressive ideologies they are indeed paving the way for harm to be done to humans.
In the 1930s Germany, schools that stayed in maintenance mode created harm to humanity.
In the 1950s USA, schools that stayed in maintenance mode created harm to humanity.
In the 1970s South Korea, schools in maintenance mode created harm to humanity.
In the 2020s where does you school need to be?
In maintenance mode or subversion mode?