Is teaching for social justice a "liberal bias"?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background/Context: A charge heard repeatedly, espetially in contemporary media by neo-conservatives such as David Horowitz and George Will, maintains that there is a "liberal bias " in North American academe. The primary grievance is that students in higher education are being indoctrinated into a left-wing ideology that discriminates against conservatives and that some professors are using their classrooms as a political podium at the expense of intellectual diversity. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of this project is to analytically assess the charge of "liberal bias" as it is specifically leveled at those who make social justice education a requirement of higher education, and especially teacher education. Research Design: Using conceptual analysis, this project highlights two aspects of the charge: the charge of "bias" and the charge of "ideology/imposition." It is argued that the charge of bias is grounded in an assumption about teacher neutrality. The concept of teacher neutrality is examined and shown to be primarily concerned with evenhandedness. It is concluded that under conditions of systemic injustice, social justice education is evenhanded. The charge of ideology/imposition is then explored, and it is argued that the underlying concern revolves around the development of critical reflection. Four different readings of "ideology" are delineated. It is argued that social justice education, although ideological in some sense, does not in principle involve imposition because it promotes rather than arrests criticality. The type of criticality that social justice education promotes is then elucidated. Conclusions/Recommendations: Making social justice education a requirement of higher education is both evenhanded and, although a type of ideology, it promotes rather than impedes criticality. Educational researchers are exhorted to be less concerned about bias and ideology in regard to social justice education and to turn their attention to how privileged students can be educated without recentering their privilege in ways that sacrifice the education of the marginalized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-408
Number of pages33
JournalTeachers College Record
Volume111
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Fingerprint

social justice
trend
Teaching
ideology
education
neutrality
teacher
privilege
research planning
university teacher
student
classroom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Is teaching for social justice a "liberal bias"? / Applebaum, Barbara.

In: Teachers College Record, Vol. 111, No. 2, 02.2009, p. 376-408.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{623302575ed7488dbd174bfae1b726df,
title = "Is teaching for social justice a {"}liberal bias{"}?",
abstract = "Background/Context: A charge heard repeatedly, espetially in contemporary media by neo-conservatives such as David Horowitz and George Will, maintains that there is a {"}liberal bias {"} in North American academe. The primary grievance is that students in higher education are being indoctrinated into a left-wing ideology that discriminates against conservatives and that some professors are using their classrooms as a political podium at the expense of intellectual diversity. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of this project is to analytically assess the charge of {"}liberal bias{"} as it is specifically leveled at those who make social justice education a requirement of higher education, and especially teacher education. Research Design: Using conceptual analysis, this project highlights two aspects of the charge: the charge of {"}bias{"} and the charge of {"}ideology/imposition.{"} It is argued that the charge of bias is grounded in an assumption about teacher neutrality. The concept of teacher neutrality is examined and shown to be primarily concerned with evenhandedness. It is concluded that under conditions of systemic injustice, social justice education is evenhanded. The charge of ideology/imposition is then explored, and it is argued that the underlying concern revolves around the development of critical reflection. Four different readings of {"}ideology{"} are delineated. It is argued that social justice education, although ideological in some sense, does not in principle involve imposition because it promotes rather than arrests criticality. The type of criticality that social justice education promotes is then elucidated. Conclusions/Recommendations: Making social justice education a requirement of higher education is both evenhanded and, although a type of ideology, it promotes rather than impedes criticality. Educational researchers are exhorted to be less concerned about bias and ideology in regard to social justice education and to turn their attention to how privileged students can be educated without recentering their privilege in ways that sacrifice the education of the marginalized.",
author = "Barbara Applebaum",
year = "2009",
month = "2",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "111",
pages = "376--408",
journal = "Teachers College Record",
issn = "0161-4681",
publisher = "Teachers College Record",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Is teaching for social justice a "liberal bias"?

AU - Applebaum, Barbara

PY - 2009/2

Y1 - 2009/2

N2 - Background/Context: A charge heard repeatedly, espetially in contemporary media by neo-conservatives such as David Horowitz and George Will, maintains that there is a "liberal bias " in North American academe. The primary grievance is that students in higher education are being indoctrinated into a left-wing ideology that discriminates against conservatives and that some professors are using their classrooms as a political podium at the expense of intellectual diversity. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of this project is to analytically assess the charge of "liberal bias" as it is specifically leveled at those who make social justice education a requirement of higher education, and especially teacher education. Research Design: Using conceptual analysis, this project highlights two aspects of the charge: the charge of "bias" and the charge of "ideology/imposition." It is argued that the charge of bias is grounded in an assumption about teacher neutrality. The concept of teacher neutrality is examined and shown to be primarily concerned with evenhandedness. It is concluded that under conditions of systemic injustice, social justice education is evenhanded. The charge of ideology/imposition is then explored, and it is argued that the underlying concern revolves around the development of critical reflection. Four different readings of "ideology" are delineated. It is argued that social justice education, although ideological in some sense, does not in principle involve imposition because it promotes rather than arrests criticality. The type of criticality that social justice education promotes is then elucidated. Conclusions/Recommendations: Making social justice education a requirement of higher education is both evenhanded and, although a type of ideology, it promotes rather than impedes criticality. Educational researchers are exhorted to be less concerned about bias and ideology in regard to social justice education and to turn their attention to how privileged students can be educated without recentering their privilege in ways that sacrifice the education of the marginalized.

AB - Background/Context: A charge heard repeatedly, espetially in contemporary media by neo-conservatives such as David Horowitz and George Will, maintains that there is a "liberal bias " in North American academe. The primary grievance is that students in higher education are being indoctrinated into a left-wing ideology that discriminates against conservatives and that some professors are using their classrooms as a political podium at the expense of intellectual diversity. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of this project is to analytically assess the charge of "liberal bias" as it is specifically leveled at those who make social justice education a requirement of higher education, and especially teacher education. Research Design: Using conceptual analysis, this project highlights two aspects of the charge: the charge of "bias" and the charge of "ideology/imposition." It is argued that the charge of bias is grounded in an assumption about teacher neutrality. The concept of teacher neutrality is examined and shown to be primarily concerned with evenhandedness. It is concluded that under conditions of systemic injustice, social justice education is evenhanded. The charge of ideology/imposition is then explored, and it is argued that the underlying concern revolves around the development of critical reflection. Four different readings of "ideology" are delineated. It is argued that social justice education, although ideological in some sense, does not in principle involve imposition because it promotes rather than arrests criticality. The type of criticality that social justice education promotes is then elucidated. Conclusions/Recommendations: Making social justice education a requirement of higher education is both evenhanded and, although a type of ideology, it promotes rather than impedes criticality. Educational researchers are exhorted to be less concerned about bias and ideology in regard to social justice education and to turn their attention to how privileged students can be educated without recentering their privilege in ways that sacrifice the education of the marginalized.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=61849140053&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=61849140053&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 111

SP - 376

EP - 408

JO - Teachers College Record

JF - Teachers College Record

SN - 0161-4681

IS - 2

ER -