Critical Theory, was developed by a group of intellectuals who are often referred to as the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt School, or Das Institut fur Sozialforschung (The Institute for Social Research), was founded in the early 1920s in Frankfurt, Germany and persisted there until the early 1930s, at which time, due to Nazi threat, it relocated to, first, Geneva, and then New York City. The purpose of Critical Theory was to provide a new way of understanding emerging market models and their effects on social domination (Giroux, 2009). Furthermore, it signaled a break from rational positivism. As Giroux explains, “the concept of critical theory refers to the nature of SELF-CONSCIOUS CRITIQUE and to the need to develop a discourse of social transformation and emancipation that does not cling dogmatically to its own doctrinal assumptions” (p. 27).  As such, the Frankfurt School was concerned with promoting the primacy of subjective truth over the universal neutrality of experience advocated by blind empiricism. Giroux explains that the “Frankfurt School took as one of its central values a commitment to penetrate the world of objective appearances to expose the underlying social relationships they often conceal” (p. 27). That is, that one of the chief characteristics of the Frankfurt School of thought is the de-emphasis of positivistic rationality and an emphasis on self-critical examinations of the dialectical relationship between human experience and social realities.  

Giroux argues that the Frankfurt School’s interest in self-criticism and ultimately their strong beliefs in the necessity of theoretical primacy over empiricism were heavily influenced by “the rise of Fascism and Nazism, on the one hand, and…the failure of orthodox Marxism, on the other” (p. 29).  

Giroux points out that “to the Frankfurt School, the outcome of positive rationality and its technocratic view of science represented a threat to the notion of subjectivity and critical thinking” or, as Nietzche put it, “[T]he victory of the scientific method over science” (p. 32). Further, such an epistemology reinforces the prevailing social and scientific hegemony and so the status quo, specifically within culture.

Giroux explains that “[b]y insisting on the primacy of theoretical knowledge in the realm of empirical investigations, the Frankfurt School also wanted to highlight the limits of positivist notion of experience” (p.35). The challenges leveled by the Frankfurt School, namely the necessity of self-criticism and the primacy of subjective critical thought, at the epistemological status quo of positivism provide insights, such as social capital, metacognition, and experience based education to the realm of radical pedagogy. To this end Brookfield (2005) points out that “[t]he critical theory tradition draws on Marxist scholarship to illuminate the ways in which people accept as normal a world characterized by massive inequities and the systemic exploitation of the many by the few” (p. 2).

References:

Brookfield, S. D. (2005). The Power of Critical Theory Liberating Adult Learning and Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Giroux, H.A. (2009). Critical theory and educational practice. In A. Darder, M.P. Baltodano, & R. D. Torres (Eds.), The Critical Pedagogy Reader (pp. 27-51) New York, NY: Routledge.Imageical

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SOCIAL REALITY

Ontological assumptions of Shared Life

Soja (2010) explains that all theory is founded on ontological assumptions about the nature of being, or the dialectical relationship between human existence and the environment in which it is embedded. He further suggests that these ontological assumptions about the nature of being are logically asserted as axiomatic. The fact that these assumptions are rarely empirically tested is of little consequence—as such, as long as it is believed to be so by enough people for a long enough length of time, it may as well be so. Soja points to the proposition that all humans are social beings as an example of a self-evident ontological assumption. He further asserts as a qualification to this proposition that although human existence is impacted and so defined by social interaction, the inherent qualities of sociality are better understood as “particularized contingencies that arise from the fundamentally social nature of our existence” rather than ontological assumptions. Instead, these particularized contingencies are acted upon by ontological assumptions, and so constitute what Soja refers to as the DNA of human thought processes.

Organized religion provides an excellent example of this DNA of human thought. Whether or not a god exists is functionally immaterial to organized religion. Certainly, one might have faith that a god does exist. However, faith does not mean that one knows for certain that a god exists; faith means that one believes that a god exists, absent empirical evidence. Each world religion exists as a series of traditional rites that reify this faith. Organized religion does not cease to function for lack of empirical evidence. In fact, organized religion does not even cease to function when empirical evidence fails to support the beliefs that are reified by religious practice. In point of fact, even if it was empirically proven that a god did not exist, it would not be the end of organized religion. This is because the particularized contingencies or, in this case, the traditional rites of any given world religion, are predicated on the ontological assumption or faith/belief that a god does indeed exist rather than empirical evidence. Therefore, if enough adherents of any given world religion believe that there is a god, there may as well be one. One might argue that a human’s conception of reality and actual reality are non-overlapping magisteria.

Interaction with the material vis-à-vis the Shared Life

Soja’s work brings to mind the way in which our perceptions overlay a priori truths. For instance, reality, as humans understand it, is dependent on several ecological, cognitive considerations—all of which except space is intrinsically rooted in axiomatic truths. Space is one of the only components of reality that is self-evident—that is, it does not require humans to experience it in order for it to have meaning. Humans overlay empirical reality with these logically asserted, but unverified, conceptions about reality. These axioms constitute reality for an individual. But if there is more than one individual, how does that change the above relationship?

As I see it, if there are two people, person (A) and person (B) looking at an object (1), then (A)’s conception of (1) is most assuredly going to be different from (B)’s understanding of (1). So what is reality then: (A)’s understanding, (B)’s understanding, or (1)’s existence? Ecological cognition suggests that collective dialogical communion between both (A) and (B) about (1) constitutes reality insofar as humans can ever be concerned.

I get the sense, that the negotiation of reality or the Shared Life is complicated exponentially by the addition of more points of view. This idea, of course, is no secret as it is the root of all conflicts between that which is culturally dominant and that which is culturally subordinate—the haves and the have-nots—men of consequence and the lay public.

SYSTEMIC CHANGE

Change Typology

Bennis, Benne, and Chin (1985) outline three major types of change strategies: 1) Empirical-Rational; 2) Normative-Re-educative; 3) Power-Coercive. These strategies exemplify planned change. That is, these strategies are appropriate for those individuals who are interested in being change agents. Each of these strategies incorporates one ontological assumption about human nature or another.

Empirical-Rational strategies of change operate within the scope of two basic assumptions about human nature. It is assumed that humans are rational, and “that men will follow their rational self-interest once this is revealed to them.” The mechanism of change in this strategy is the rational self-interest of humans. A proposed change is accepted and enacted if it is in keeping with the self-interest of the individual, group, or professional community.

Normative-Re-educative strategies rely on the assumption that human interaction is predicated on socio-cultural norms and personal value systems. It would be appropriate to think of these norms and value systems as being much the same as the “particularized contingencies” of Soja’s conception of human nature. The particularized contingencies are understood to be normative orientations that embody personal or group commitments. The Normative-Re-educative strategy of planned change suggests that change will be successful if an individual or group’s commitment to pre-existing normative orientations is re-channeled towards a new orientation. This involves restructuring an individual or group’s axiological relationship with reality. It is not unlike Jack Mezirow’s theory of transformative adult learning.

Power-Coercive models of change do not actually rely on ontological assumptions per se. The Power-Coercive strategies are deceptively straightforward. They rely on the “compliance of those with less power to the plans, direction, and leadership of those with greater power.” In the calculus of planned change, power is rather a nebulous quantity. Knowledge, numbers, strength, are all means, but authority seems to be the end. However, this authority is quite elusive. It would seem that the abovementioned means of accumulating power are all disqualified by a proper allocation of public spectacle.

Interaction with the material vis-à-vis planned change

It is easy to presuppose that one should choose one mode of operation in a deontological flurry of lifelong dogmatic struggle. In fact, I found myself doing so as I read Bennis, Benne, and Chin’s work. However, I think that it would be most efficacious if one were to moderate their behavior in view of the necessities of the situation. Certainly there are times when it is ill-advised to appeal to the rational self-interest of one’s colleagues. In point of fact, I am tempted to suggest that there is no such thing as rational self-interest; there is only a misguided and overblown feeding instinct. Take, for example, a hypothetical failing university, thoroughly lacking in academic renown. In order to remedy the situation, it would be rationally advisable to ramp up admissions requirements and streamline university employment to offset the drop in enrollment that the new admissions requirements would engender. Presumably, the augmented intellectual capacity of the student body would allow professors to appeal more directly to the academic facilities of their students. This would, ostensibly, lead to the production of graduates that would go on to positions of consequence—and all with the university’s stamp on the bottoms of their feet. That would be an Empirical-Rational strategy. It is obviously utopian.

More likely, the climate of this hypothetical university would, on the surface, be much more attributable to Normative-Re-educative models of planned change. The numerous advertising billboards that would dot the highways and the online ads that would pepper the Inboxes of thousands upon thousands of personal Email addresses, would attest to the new exciting normative orientations being formulated within the walls of this university. The university would attract people based on the promised ability to improve the lives of its students. “We will substantively change you; and you will be better for it!” would be the maxim of this new advertising campaign. Of course, this too would be nonsense. A Power-Coercive model would actually be at work. Students would apply to various programs with slack admissions standards. Each student would pay tens of thousands of dollars for acceptance to what would essentially be a degree mill, and the university would then make millions of dollars which would allow them to invest in larger marketing campaigns. With its newly earned capital, the university would essentially be able to buy renown and thereby manipulate social reality. It would, as far as anyone cared, be an excellent university. A university’s authority is not in the academic renown of its professors or its ability to positively and substantively change the lives of its students; its authority is derived from the income that its programs generate. This is an important lesson. Power is not something that is direct. Power is not inextricably tied to anything. Authority is derived from an individual or a group’s ability to manipulate a system by any means at present disposal.  It is safe to assume that this would be directly applicable to developing a capacity to manipulate social reality.

It is important to understand that a social attitude is predicated on the idea that reality is axiomatic and socially constructed. The smallest unit of the social construction of axiomatic reality is the interpersonal manipulation of one’s peers. This manipulation can be achieved through a judicious application of planned change strategies. For instance, one might make a bid for authority by appealing to their peers’ rational self-interest or seek to fundamentally change how their peers interact with empirical reality by changing the mechanism from which their particularized contingencies are generated. In either case, you need not encumber your appeal with empirical veracity because reality, insofar as humans may ever reasonably be concerned, is axiological. That is, if enough of your peers believe your appeal, it may as well be true. It may seem that I am being facetious, but I assure you that the only thing that is fatuous about what I am saying is how outlandish reality seems when it is handled with a casual attitude.

References

Bennis, W.G., Benne, K.D., & Chin, R. (1985). The planning of change. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston

Soja, E.W. (2010). Seeking spatial justice. Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press

DISCLAIMER

This essay will be confined to the theoretical aspects of paradigmatic change with regard to human nature as I currently understand it and its possible benefits to the addressing cultural proficiency. My understanding of human nature is informed by Integral Paradigm Theory, and as such draws from John Locke’s tabula rasa and association of ideas, Donald Hebb’s theory of synaptic plasticity (Hebb’s Postulate), the second law of thermodynamics (particularly with regard to entropy and heat death in a closed system), and the Jungian concept of the Collective Unconscious.

KUHN’S CONTRIBUTION TO MY UNDERSTANDING OF PARADIGMATIC THEORY

                Through reading Kuhn’s essay concerning normal science, I have come to understand paradigms as a bounded field of mutually agreed upon fundamentals. These fundamentals are predicated on and reified by scientific achievements that are novel enough to garner attention yet fluid enough to invite further study. The life’s blood of a paradigm is the quality and quantity of its adherents as well as the constant maintenance of the status quo within the paradigm by its adherents. Much of the work done within normal science is the reification of the paradigm through “the articulation of those phenomena and theories that the paradigm already supplies” (Kuhn, p. 24). It would be easy to reduce the definition of paradigmatic theory to a cliché metaphor about boxes, however, I personally, prefer an equally pedestrian cliché that is slightly more adept at capturing the mechanisms of paradigms within normal science: a lens. The image of a box, I argue, does not adequately address the work of a paradigm because it brings to mind a completely static, closed system. However, if one were to view a paradigm as a lens, I believe, he or she would be closer to the mechanisms of a paradigm because the fundamentals of a paradigm may be viewed as directional methodologies that may be focused on any phenomenon. In this, I depart from Kuhn’s view of paradigms. It seems to me that scientific communities do not necessarily create new paradigms that necessitate new theories and methodologies to accompany them when they have exhausted the fuel of the original paradigm. I would argue, rather, that it is more reasonable to suggest that scientific communities tend to exam new phenomena with the familiar paradigmatic features more readily than creating a new paradigm to address the said phenomena. I will agree that such a departure is merely academic as the result of viewing paradigms as a lens rather than a box merely yields a similar outcome via a different means. Viewing the a bounded frontier of the natural world with a bounded set of methodologies and theories would yield the same results as viewing the unbounded frontier of the natural world with a bounded set methodologies and theories; it would simply become an issue of when the scientific community exhausts itself. This seems to closely approximate what is happening within the field of Education. It seems to me that a substantial portion of current Educational theory is a restatement of Dr. John Dewey’s work concerning experiential education. In other words, I feel that the paradigmatic nature of educational theory has fostered a culture of reinventing the wheel, and, as a result, educational theory has made very little progress since the early 1900s. This is not to say that the politics of educational policy has not also played a hand in the development of the said culture.

INTEGRAL PARADIGM

                Integral Paradigm or Integral Theory, as a method of both defining and addressing the abovementioned issues of the current system of normal science, draws from a very wide base of very eclectic modes of thinking. As one may glean from the title, Integral Paradigm’s mechanism relies on a very inductive process of thinking. Rather than view the natural world from a bounded paradigm, Integral Paradigm seeks to view the natural world from several paradigms. In so doing, Integral Paradigm is an effectively unbounded method of inquiry. I feel that this method of inquiry can define and address the often myopic scope of normal science as well as provide a framework with which to address the cultural proficiency issues within any work environment.

DEFINING THE ISSUE USING INTEGRAL PARADIGM

                Tabula rasa: In order to begin to define the issues of normal science and the apparent difficulties associated with becoming culturally proficient, I will first draw from John Locke’s theory of tabula rasa, in which he views the developing mind as a blank slate on which new ideas are inscribed. Utilizing this theory with regard to cultural stereotypes, let us say for example, that on a given blank slate, empirical evidence inscribes (A) Hispanic individual, (B) Hispanic culture is collectivist and high context, (C) current educational practice is based on individualistic and low-context pedagogy, and (D) there tends to be an achievement gap between Hispanic students and White students. Currently, on this hypothetical blank slate, there are three more or less unrelated ideas. However, through association of ideas, these previously unrelated ideas begin to move towards a causal relationship. The movement from (A) to (B) to (C) to (D) are further linked through this process of association.

Hebb’s Postulate: Further explanation of this process of thought association relies on Donald Hebb’s theory concerning synaptic plasticity. Hebb posits that neurons become associated through repeated and consistent associative excitation. In other words, if the axon terminal of neuron (A) binds itself through neurotransmitter to the dendrites of neuron (B), thusly creating a chemical synapse, and continues to excite neuron (B), both neuron (A) and neuron (B) will begin to associate more vigorously by developing more axon terminals and more dendrites, respectively, and in so doing, create more synapses. This is perhaps, one of the more foundational views of reflexive thinking and can be viewed as support of Schema Theory.

Hebb’s Postulate in association with Tabula Rasa: In revisiting the abovementioned example of cultural stereotypes with the added concept of Hebbian Theory, a more complete understanding of paradigmatic myopia and cultural incapacity begins to take form. Continuing from the above example, if through repeated neural association, that is, through repeated association of ideas, it becomes possible to wear a deep and long-standing path between (A) Hispanic individual, (B) Hispanic culture is collectivist and high context, (C) current educational practice is based on individualistic and low-context pedagogy, and (D) there tends to be an achievement gap between Hispanic students and White students. After repeated association between these points or ideas, through Hebbian principle, the association becomes reflexive. It therefore, for the sake of the example, becomes possible to reflexively associate a Hispanic individual with collectivist or high context cultural tendencies, or with chronic under-achievement. One may see how this may be problematic both for becoming culturally proficient and for scientific inquiry.

Second Law of Thermodynamics: In essence, the second law of thermodynamics states that, given enough time, in a closed system heat death will occur through entropy. A very basic way to describe this would be to fill a tuperware container with two types of cereal and then seal the container. As a sealed container, the tuperware and the cereal become a closed system. Given enough time, the two types of cereal in the container would breakdown sufficiently in order that it may be reckoned as one type of cereal. This is the process of molecular entropy in a closed system. In a closed system, given enough time, energy on a molecular level reaches what is known as heat death. This mechanism can be applied to the aforementioned example concerning tabula rasa and Hebb’s postulate. For example, if the blank slate and ideas (A) through (D) are considered a closed system and association of ideas is considered the principal force of locomotion and chief agent of entropy, one may rightly assume that when a person ceases to learn new ideas, a type of heat death of the mind ensues. In this regard, failing to learn more about a culture or a person leads to a reification of often faulty assumptions that are based on bounded paradigmatic associations. In other words, stereotypes are fueled by mental heat death. The same may be said of normal science.

THE HUMAN PARADIGM

                The abovementioned three theories come from what are reckoned as three very different paradigms. Tabula Rasa comes from Epistemology; Hebb’s postulate comes from Neuropsychology; and Thermodynamics comes from Chemistry and Physics. However, through integral paradigm, it would seem that there is substantial blurring of the boundaries between the three paradigms. I would suggest that this blurring of paradigmatic boundaries speaks to the veracity of the Jungian concept of the collective unconscious. Each and every paradigm was articulated through the intellectual work the human mind. It, therefore, should not be shocking that each paradigm should bear substantial residual evidence of human thought processes. For example, the behavior of a dog is less than shocking to a human. In fact, a rather sizable and lucrative industry has developed around the manipulation of canine behavior. It should then come as no surprise that from an objective and slightly broader vantage, the miraculous and ever-expanding psyche of the human may very well seem less than miraculous and not at all ever-expanding. As disappointing as that may sound, it would be even more disappointing if by maintaining the paradigmatic nature of normal science, we further handicapped our ability to stave off mental heat death a little while longer. To this end, I believe that utilizing a more expansive theory concerning paradigms, one such as Integral Paradigm, more may be achieved. By opening the system of the mind to new ideas, it may be possible to attain a measure of cultural proficiency and dynamic inquiry.

References

Kuhn, T. (1996). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Pursuant of one of the most seminal issues facing the California Department of Education (CDE), this report will review the financial nuances of the Bilingual Teacher Training Program (BTTP). This report will examine the Schedule of the First Apportionment for The Bilingual Teacher Training Program Fiscal Year 2009-2010, which addresses the entitlement period for 2008-09 and 2009-10 for 14 counties including Riverside County and San Bernardino County. This report will also outline the implications of Senate Bill 4 of the 2009-10 Third Extraordinary Session (SBX3 4), by which local education agencies (LEAs) have been given absolute discretion concerning the allocation of heretofore restricted categorical funds. The latter section of this report bears on the former as the BTTP falls under the purview of the categorical program flexibility provision of SBX3 4. The possible implications that are partially addressed by this report include the reallocation of funds that were previously earmarked for BTTP towards other educational necessities. The subtext of these implications is that a growing portion of California’s student population, students whose home language is not English, may not benefit from the positive effects that the BTTP may indirectly afford them. This implication is not necessarily damning of the CDE; it by no means implicates the CDE of anything beyond addressing the necessities of very difficult state budget restrictions. The data by which this report is informed has been gathered from the CDE website, specifically, from the funding profile for Bilingual Teacher Training (ID 1768), the Bilingual Teacher Training program profile, the apportionment schedule for the 2009-10 fiscal year for the Bilingual Teacher Training Program, and a letter from the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell, concerning the CDE’s understanding and respective propositions concerning SBX3 4.

BILINGUAL TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM MODEL

            The Bilingual Teacher Training Program (BTTP) authorizes credentialed educators, in fulfillment of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) requirements, “to provide English Language Development (ELD), specially designed academic instruction in English (SDAIE), and primary language instructional services to English learners (ELs)” (California Department of Education, Bilingual Teacher Training section, para. 3) to kindergarten through twelfth grade students. The BTTP’s curriculum and training framework addresses the California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) Examination. The CTEL is one of the primary methods of authorization of veteran teachers and out-of-state teachers to provide specialized instruction for ELs (ibid. para. 7). BTTP is significant because the statute concerning staff development programs authorized by the CTC, pursuant of Education Code Section 44253, which required the CTC to issue certificated authorization to veteran teachers to provide ELD and/or SDAIE, has expired as of January 1, 2008 (ibid, para. 8). Essentially, because the Certificate of Completion of Staff Development is no longer available to veteran teachers, those veteran teachers who wish to teach ELs will be required to participate in the BTTP. There are 14 centers which, incidentally, correspond to the 14 counties listed in the Schedule of the First Apportionment for The Bilingual Teacher Training Program Fiscal Year 2009-2010, that provide BTTP to 11 statewide regions (ibid, para. 10 & California Department of Education, Schedule of the First Apportionment for the Bilingual Teacher Training Program Fiscal Year 2009-10 section).

BILINGUAL TEACHER TRAINING FUNDING PROFILE (ID 1768)

            In the 2009-10 fiscal year, the funds provided for the BTTP are eligible to local educational agencies (LEAs) that have received funding for the BTTP during the 2008-09 fiscal year for grades K-12 (California Department of Education, Bilingual Teacher Training (Flexible Funds) section, item 1). The Education Code Section 42605; budget item 6110-193-0001; control section 12.42 authorizes a state apportionment for the 2009-10 fiscal year of $1,708,000 for the entirety of the BTTP (ibid, item 2). This apportionment is approximately 5.6% less than was apportioned during the 2008-09 fiscal year (ibid, item 2). Furthermore, funding through the 2012-13 fiscal year will be based on the 2008-09 fiscal year, which corresponds to the allotted time frame of Senate Bill 4 of the 2009-10 Third Extraordinary Session concerning categorical funds flexibility (ibid, item 2 & O’Connell, J., 2009, Fiscal Issues Relating To Budget Reductions and Flexibility Provisions).

IMPLEMENTATION OF SBX3 4

            According to a letter from the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the CDE understands Senate Bill 4 of the 2009-10 Third Extraordinary Session (SBX3 4) to mean that local education agencies (LEAs) have complete autonomy concerning the utilization of restricted portions of the General Fund for any educational purpose (California Department of Education, Fiscal Issues Relating To Budget Reductions and Flexibility Provisions). LEAs have been afforded this flexibility until the 2012-13 fiscal year. To wit, the CDE understands this language to mean that “funds are therefore unrestricted; program or funding requirements, as otherwise provided in statute regulation, and budget act provisional language associated with the funding, are not in effect” (ibid, para. 11).

BILINGUAL TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK

            As has been previously stated , BTTPs are provided in 14 counties, in 11 regions throughout California (California Department of Education, Regional Support Centers). Essentially, the $1,708,000 allotted to the BTTPs is divvied up between 14 counties throughout California. A full list of these counties and regions as well as their specific respective apportionment is provided in figure 1. The apportionment schedules range from $37,000 to approximately $300,000. It is worth noting that the highest apportionment, approximately $300,000, is apportioned to San Joaquin County which comprises three different regions. Riverside County and San Bernardino County, in particular receive $112,431 and $207,544 respectively. Both Riverside County and San Bernardino County comprise one of the eleven regions. According to Ed-Data (2010), Riverside County and San Bernardino County have 420,159 and 420,325 students respectively. Of those students, 95,316 and 91, 721 students are designated as English Learners. Riverside has a reported 19,491 credentialed teachers, whereas, San Bernardino has a reported 19,492 credentialed teachers. Hypothetically speaking, if each of the credentialed teachers had benefited from the BTTP and were certified to instruct ELs—which is highly unlikely, there would be approximately 5 ELs per every certified teacher. Given that not every credentialed teacher is authorized to teach ELs—although considering the demographic trends, it may be advisable to remedy this situation, the following may not be exactly accurate: considering the above numbers, it could be alleged that if every teacher is certified to teach ELs, as perhaps ought to be the case, under the proposed funding scheme, each teacher would benefit from $.09 worth of training. As this perhaps may be unfair, as nowhere near all teachers in either Riverside or San Bernardino County are certified to teach ELs, it may behoove one to look at a particular school site to extrapolate a more finely tuned analysis. In this regard, this report focuses on San Gorgonio High School in the San Bernardino City Unified. In this particular school site, there are 57 teachers out of 169 whose assignment type is designated as Other—suggesting that they are not subject area teacher, vocational teachers, or special education teachers, and therefore most likely to be EL teachers. The school site is home to 626 ELs. This means that there are about 11 ELs per EL teacher. If San Gorgonio High School is even remotely representative of San Bernardino County, these data would suggest that approximately 35% of teachers in San Bernardino County may be authorized to teach ELs. Given this very gracious approximation, these data would indicate that approximately 6822 in San Bernardino County are authorized to teach ELs. These data indicate that these teachers would be benefiting from approximately $30.42 worth of training.

CONCLUSION

            It would seem that the Bilingual Teacher Training Program may already be running on a severe financial deficit. It must be said that the above calculations are by no means as accurate as might be warranted by any substantive State finance apportionment. However, even if these calculations are nearly accurate—that is to say, even if these data are off by several hundred teacher or students or by several hundred dollars, they are still astonishing. Beyond this, it may be problematic to open such a small budget up for general purpose use as it may be very attractive to cannibalize such a seemingly underfunded and therefore useless program. Although, this report is by no means accurate enough to suggest any point-to-point reform, it does pose a very serious question: Are our teachers adequately prepared to address the needs of our dynamic student populations?

SCHEDULE OF THE FIRST APPORTIONMENT FOR THE
BILINGUAL TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM
FISCAL YEAR 2009-10
County
code
District
Code
Local Educational Agency 2008-09
Entitlement
2009-10
Entitlement
Current
Apportionment
(100 Percent)

ALAMEDA COUNTY

01

10017

Alameda County Office of Education

136,431

128,814

128,814

COUNTY TOTAL

136,431

128,814

128,814

IMPERIAL COUNTY

13

10132

Imperial County Office of Education

39,462

37,259

37,259

COUNTY TOTAL

39,462

37,259

37,259

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

19

10199

Los Angeles County Office of Education

179,363

169,349

169,349

COUNTY TOTAL

179,363

169,349

169,349

MONTEREY COUNTY

27

10272

Monterey County Office of Education

72,181

68,151

68,151

COUNTY TOTAL

72,181

68,151

68,151

ORANGE COUNTY

30

10306

Orange County Department of Education

121,360

114,584

114,584

COUNTY TOTAL

121,360

114,584

114,584

RIVERSIDE COUNTY

33

10330

Riverside County Office of Education

119,080

112,431

112,431

COUNTY TOTAL

119,080

112,431

112,431

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

36

10363

San Bernardino County Office of Education

219,817

207,544

207,544

COUNTY TOTAL

219,817

207,544

207,544

SAN DIEGO COUNTY

37

10371

San Diego County Office of Education

162,012

152,966

152,966

COUNTY TOTAL

162,012

152,966

152,966

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY

39

10397

San Joaquin County Office of Education

308,854

291,610

291,610

COUNTY TOTAL

308,854

291,610

291,610

SAN MATEO COUNTY

41

10413

San Mateo County Office of Education

72,182

68,152

68,152

COUNTY TOTAL

72,182

68,152

68,152

SANTA CLARA COUNTY

43

10439

Santa Clara County Office of Education

68,612

64,781

64,781

COUNTY TOTAL

68,612

64,781

64,781

SONOMA COUNTY

49

10496

Sonoma County Office of Education

131,275

123,946

123,946

COUNTY TOTAL

131,275

123,946

123,946

TULARE COUNTY

54

10546

Tulare County Office of Education

93,201

87,997

87,997

COUNTY TOTAL

93,201

87,997

87,997

VENTURA COUNTY

56

10561

Ventura County Office of Education

85,170

80,415

80,415

COUNTY TOTAL

85,170

80,415

80,415

STATE TOTAL

$1,809,000

$1,707,999

$1,707,999

California Department of Education

School Fiscal Services Division

5-Feb-2010

Figure 1. Schedule of the First Apportionment for the Bilingual Teacher Training Program Fiscal Year 2009-10 (California Department of Education, 2010).

REFERENCES

California Department of Education. (2010). Bilingual teacher training. Retrieved from http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/bt/

California Department of Education. (2010). Bilingual teacher training (flexible funds). Retrieved from http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fo/profile.asp?id=1768

California Department of Education. (2010). Regional support centers. Retrieved from http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/bt/regbttpcenters.asp

California Department of Education. (2010). Schedule of the first apportionment for the bilingual teacher training program fiscal year 2009-10 [data file]. Retrieve from http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fo/r14/btt09result.asp

California Department of Education. (2010). Fiscal issues relating to budget reductions and flexibility provisions. Retrieved from http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fr/eb/yr09budgetacts.asp

Ed-Data. (2010). School Reports. Retrieved from http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/Navigation/fsTwoPanel.asp?bottom=%2Fprofile%2Easp%3Flevel%3D06%26reportNumber%3D16

Published in 1956, C. Wright Mills’ book, The Power Elite, remains a strikingly relevant commentary concerning the marginalization of the individual by a centralized power structure. Mills delineates the nature of the abovementioned centralized power structure and illustrates the ability of its momentum to marginalize the individual identities of both ordinary men and men of decision.  Mills describes the centralized power structure as a triumvirate of institutional units that includes the economy, the military order, and the political order. Mills suggests that, as each institutional unit independently becomes progressively larger and more centralized the more they interact with one another, and, as a consequence of this increased interaction, become more relevant in each other’s institutional realities. In an effort to illustrate this system, Mills states that, “There is no longer, on the one hand, an economy, and, on the other hand, a political order containing a military establishment, unimportant to politics and to money-making. There is a political economy linked, in a thousand ways, with military institutions and decisions.”

Mills goes on to further elaboration as to the mechanisms by which these three institutional units exert their will. He posits that power, wealth, and prestige play very different, but interactive roles in the structuring of the positions of authority held by the said institutional units. Mills suggests that these three mechanisms are cumulative in nature; that is, “the more of it you have, the more you can get.” He further explains that not only are they cumulative, they may individually be utilized as currency by which another of the mechanisms may be purchased. In other words, “the wealthy find it easier than the poor to gain power; those with status find it easier than those without it to control opportunities for wealth.” He notes that access to these mechanisms is primarily dependent on access to major institutions. Mills is careful to explain that men of decision are engendered by (1) access to major institutions and (2) the accumulation of prestige, power, and wealth through interaction within the said major institutions.

It is interesting to me that Mills seems to suggest that the system of the power elite (i.e. the military-industrial complex’s supremacy over all aspects of the daily lives of the pedestrian citizenry), not only claims supreme ascendancy over the lay public, but also over the habitus of the top social stratum. I feel very encouraged that Mills claims that there is a split between what is “Human” and what is the “Machine.” In other words, it is a great relief to me that someone as learned as C. Wright Mills has demarcated the boundary between what it means to be an individual living as an individual and what it means to be an individual living as part of an entity encumbered by the external pressures of social engines. I often find myself wondering what it means to be a person whose life must at some point interact and, in some cases, fuse with those of “the other.” It is as though the essence of an individual seems to gain an alternative and added meaning simply though interaction with another. It would seem that Mills suggests that although the triumvirate of institutional units that make up the driving and dominant force of our social lives is the end result of a process of social creation of reality, it is presently antagonistic to the very idea of collective interpretations of individuals’ conception of reality. I feel that this logically follows from Mills’ discussion about the myth of a free market—it might have existed at one time during the infancy of our society, but no longer. I have often experienced anxiety because of the idea of gaining auxiliary meaning through interaction with others. Much to the chagrin of people in my immediate social circle, I have expressed interest in living a life of the utmost seclusion. I suppose I am anxious about losing the meaning of my identity through participation in a process of collective meaning making that ultimately results in a system that is devoid of fealty to its contributing parts. Certainly there exists a rhetoric that suggests that being part of something bigger and more important than one’s self is a noble pursuit, however, I do not currently feel that sacrificing my personal identity for the sole purpose of contributing to the mindless momentum of a system is at all noble or prudent.

Freirean notions of Critical Pedagogy provide the consequential validity that is often lacking from decontextualized discussions concerning asymmetries of power in dialectical conversations within a given social reality. In his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire utilizes concepts of Critical Theory to formulate a pedagogical methodology aimed at social reconstruction in which the subordinate culture reexamines and exerts its own power to interrupt the existing power asymmetry.

Freirean paradigms are concerned primarily with the narrative nature of education which he dubs the banking model and its proposed antithesis, the problem-posing paradigm. Freire characterizes the banking model as involving “a narrative Subject (the teacher) and patient, listening objects (students)” (p. 52). The teacher is considered a depositor, knowledge is considered to be that which is deposited, and the student is considered to be the receptacle into which knowledge is deposited by the aforementioned teacher. As Freire articulates the phenomenon, the teacher’s “task is to ‘fill’ the students with the contents of his narration—contents which are detached from reality, disconnected from the totality that engendered them and could give them significance” (p. 52). The student is therefore considered to be a good student if they adopt the passive role of a receptacle.

In opposition to the banking model, Freire believes that “[k]nowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry men pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other” (p. 52). In other words, Freire supports  the experiential learning advocated by Dewey and the anti-positivistic epistemology supported by the Frankfurt School. As such, the form of pedagogy that Freire supports pays very close attention to dialectical relationships between both oppressed and oppressor as well as between human knowledge and social reality. In view of the above, Freire suggests that in the banking model, “knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing” (p. 52). In so being, the banking model is highly supportive of the status quo and often views students as malleable objects that become increasingly more willing to accept what is given to them. As Freire puts it, “[t]he capability of banking education to minimize or annul the students’ creative power and to stimulate their credulity serves the interests of the oppressors, who care neither to have the world revealed nor to see it transformed” (p. 53). As such, the relationship dynamics designate that the student/oppressed as an outsider or “welfare recipient” and the teacher/oppressor as the insider/patron.

Further, Freire considers the banking model to be necrophilic in that it considers humans to be objects and therefore precludes the idea that they have the capacity to grow in a self-regulated manner. As such, Freire believes that the banking model supports a kind of love for death (p. 55).

Freire supports a view of education that does away with the dichotomous relationship between student and teacher. Freire feels that this can be done by “adopting…a concept of men as conscious beings, and consciousness as consciousness intent upon the world” (p. 56). He further suggests that problem-posing education is an inherently emancipatory endeavor that requires a shift in the dialectical relationship between student and teacher in which there exists a greater share of reciprocity in the communication of learning.

References:

Freire, P. (2009). From pedagogy of the oppressed. In A. Darder, M.P. Baltodano, & R. D. Torres (Eds.), The Critical Pedagogy Reader (pp. 52-60) New York, NY: Routledge.

Support of social reconstructivism as a practical educational paradigm often engenders the reification of Critical Theory as Critical Pedagogy. With regard to Critical Pedagogy, McLaren (2009) suggests that knowledge is organic and subjective; that is, he believes that knowledge is the product of an ongoing conversation between members of a given society at a given time. McLaren further asserts that “[c]ritical pedagogy asks how and why knowledge gets constructed the way it does, and how and why some constructions of reality are legitimated and celebrated by the dominant culture while others clearly are not” (p. 63).

McLaren delves deeper into the subgroups of knowledge and suggests that emancipatory knowledge is often utilized by critical educators to bring to parity quantifiable knowledge and analytical knowledge and, in so doing, create “the foundation for social justice, equality, and empowerment” (p. 64).

McLaren goes on to point out that Critical Pedagogy is a tool by which educators self-critically analyze modes of thought generation and dominant discourse in an effort to expose power asymmetries and their manifestation in school curricula with particular regard to notions of cultural capital. He suggests that “[s]tudents from the dominant culture inherit substantially different cultural capital than do economically disadvantaged students, and schools generally value and reward those who exhibit that dominant cultural capital” (p. 81). He further explains that students who subscribe to the subordinate class culture often find that the cultural capital that they inherit from such an oppressed culture holds very little value as a social currency within schools that systematically devalue that said cultural capital. As such, in McLaren’s view:

Cultural capital is reflective of material capital and replaces it as a form of symbolic currency that enters into the exchange system of the school. Cultural capital is therefore symbolic of the social structure’s economic force and becomes in itself a productive force in the reproduction of social relations under capitalism. Academic performance represents, therefore, not individual competence or the lack of ability on the part of disadvantaged students but the school’s depreciation of their cultural capital. The end result is that the school’s academic credentials remain indissolubly linked to an unjust system of trading in cultural capital which is eventually transformed into economic capital, as working-class students become less likely to get high-paying jobs. (p. 81)

References:

McLaren, P. (2009). Critical pedagogy: a look at the major concepts. In A. Darder, M.P. Baltodano, & R. D. Torres (Eds.), The Critical Pedagogy Reader (pp. 61-83) New York, NY: Routledge.