interview with Henry A. Giroux

What do you think is the biggest issue facing our education system?

The biggest issue facing education today is the ongoing corporatization and militarization of public schools. Poor minority and white youth increasingly find themselves in schools modeled after prisons and one consequence is that their behavior, however trivial, is criminalized and they increasingly move from school into the criminal justice system.

Describe the level of parent involvement you feel is necessary for student success.

Parental involvement is always important but the opportunity for parents to provide the care, support, and time differs depending on whether time is a luxury or deprivation for them. Many parents increasingly have two jobs, cannot be home as much as they would like to be, and sometimes lack the skills to work with schools.

How would you invest $1,000,000 into a school district?

Hire more teachers, support staff, and provide the basic resources necessary for all kids to succeed academically

Given the task, how would you restructure our public schools?

Make them smaller, raise teachers’ salaries, reward teachers who work with poor children, give more power to teachers and students, and invest as much money in schools as we do in the Department of Defense.

Tell us a school house memory from your childhood.

I remember going to school and being fascinated with history, because the adults in my working class neighborhood told stories about labor struggles and the heroes of those struggles, people like Big Bill Haywood. When I got the school, I discovered that labor history was written out of the books and all I got was great man theory of history, a history that erased conflict, blacks, working class people, women, and any other group that did not fit into the master narrative.

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