Individual Presentation or Panel Title

Strange Fruit - The Harvesting of the Tree of Knowledge

Abstract

The American curriculum of deficit stems from traditional Western philosophy centering and privileging white heteropatriarchy. It is linear and hierarchical with branches extending from the central core of the tree. All major beliefs spring from the core and are distinct and separate from each other; yet all are dependent on the core; none can survive without the core. Unhealthy or abnormal limbs or independent offshoots are pruned or removed. By eliminating aberrant growth, creativity is restrained because “the innovations that are the essence of individuality are feared” (Dewey, 1934). The implications of this centrality are dependency and subordination - the damaged fruit of this tree of knowledge.

Galileo, Descartes, and Newton’s philosophies grew out from this core and provided the foundation of modern concepts of “objectivity, theory, abstraction, rationality, and certainty” which now dominate Western culture and education (Fleener, 2002, p. 20). These divisions and categorization “fix metes and bounds” (Dewey, 1934). They limit creative thought and result in an environment in which individuality is feared. As a result, philosophies that can be used to oppress individuality are touted as superior. Logic is defined not only in opposition to, but superior to, emotion because emotion, creativity, and imagination are threats to the status quo. As such, the arts become marginalized and the focus becomes standardization, mathematics, and the “science” of education – a continuation of the censorship of creative thinking that hearkens back to Plato and the Catholic Church (Dewey, 1934; Kincheloe, Steinberg, & Tippens, 1999).

Presentation Description

Today’s public school curriculum is artificially constructed, and it is a curriculum of deficit. Based on Cartesian-Newtonian philosophy, it is a curriculum in which issues of race, gender, sexuality, and disabilities are framed by a white patriarchal hetero-normative perspective resulting in a deficit perspective that serves to identify most of us as abnormal and therefore deficient. Through the repetition of this metanarrative, people come to define themselves as “less than” the mega-myth of the “normal man”. Because we doubt our abilities, we allow others to define who we are by measurements of “normalcy”. A curriculum of deficit impacts teachers and students by creating insecurity that takes root in the individual and extends into schools.

Location

Oglethorpe

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Jun 10th, 2:15 PM Jun 10th, 3:30 PM

Strange Fruit - The Harvesting of the Tree of Knowledge

Oglethorpe

The American curriculum of deficit stems from traditional Western philosophy centering and privileging white heteropatriarchy. It is linear and hierarchical with branches extending from the central core of the tree. All major beliefs spring from the core and are distinct and separate from each other; yet all are dependent on the core; none can survive without the core. Unhealthy or abnormal limbs or independent offshoots are pruned or removed. By eliminating aberrant growth, creativity is restrained because “the innovations that are the essence of individuality are feared” (Dewey, 1934). The implications of this centrality are dependency and subordination - the damaged fruit of this tree of knowledge.

Galileo, Descartes, and Newton’s philosophies grew out from this core and provided the foundation of modern concepts of “objectivity, theory, abstraction, rationality, and certainty” which now dominate Western culture and education (Fleener, 2002, p. 20). These divisions and categorization “fix metes and bounds” (Dewey, 1934). They limit creative thought and result in an environment in which individuality is feared. As a result, philosophies that can be used to oppress individuality are touted as superior. Logic is defined not only in opposition to, but superior to, emotion because emotion, creativity, and imagination are threats to the status quo. As such, the arts become marginalized and the focus becomes standardization, mathematics, and the “science” of education – a continuation of the censorship of creative thinking that hearkens back to Plato and the Catholic Church (Dewey, 1934; Kincheloe, Steinberg, & Tippens, 1999).