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Thanksgiving Leftovers: Julian Vasquez Heilig is a Jive Turkey

Recently I was accused of whitewashing because I gave a lecture at the University of Minnesota. The top down, private-control and privatization reformers are getting more creative (or less creative).  Here is a blog written by Kenneth Eban at the Citizen Ed (top down, private-control and privatization) website.

Today I was inspired to create a new verb: “Alllivesmattering.”

I define it as the act of ignoring a real issue or social problem by critiquing the very movement addressing and solving the issue.

For example, the critique of #BlackLivesMatter, a national movement to address the government sanctioned police killings of African Americans across the country, produced the counterproductive #AllLivesMatter.

So why did I feel this was important to write about today?

It’s because I went to a weird education conversation led by guest speaker Dr. Julian Hellig Vasquez and hosted by my alma mater, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. It was supposed to be about community-based approaches to reforming schools. I was intrigued. As an education advocate and as someone looking work with local communities to find solutions to close our opportunity gap, these conversations are everything.

Now, I’ll cut to the chase: I was sorely disappointed.

The entire talk discussion was centered on what is wrong with the education reform movement, not the schools.  So instead of illuminating and educating people on the issues that face public education, Vasquez spent his time sharing endless criticisms of education reform. He focused only on analyzing the reform movement instead of addressing the problem that drives the movement in the first place (these schools that aren’t educating kids).

In essence, he alllivesmattered education.

Listening to Vasquez you would get the idea that public education is under attack, but the system itself is fine. You would think that what needs to be addressed is the education reform movement, not the achievement gap.

He talked a lot about how bad standardized testing is, and how Teach For America needs to be fought, but there was no focus on how we can improve the outcomes for black and brown children.

This is a conversation the University of Minnesota has sponsored in the past, and this is something opponents of education reform tend to do a lot here. They like to have conversations about adults, and adult politics, and avoid conversations about the students they are serving and impacting.

The crowd, about 80 people, mostly white teachers, would probably never touch proposals like making school funding follow the child. And they weren’t the least bit curious about the problem of too few students of color in traditional schools of education.

Of course there could be no admission that charter schools have empowered parents by giving them more options than just their neighborhood district school.

The more I’m in these discussions, the more I realize when people take to AllLivesmattering they are being hypocritical. For instance, I didn’t see an outcry after recent news that a young white male was killed by the police. The #AllLivesMatter crowd was silent because they don’t actually care about police brutality. They care more about obstructing #BlackLivesMatter.

Likewise, the University of Minnesota and Dr. Vasquez wanted to have a conversation about community-based approaches to education reform, without really talking about the systemic problems with teachers, curriculum, and instruction.

And why would the university repeat the mistake that has drawn complaints before, which is having these events out of view of communities of color? What community were they attempting to attract? Shouldn’t the focus have been on the community affected by educational failure? If so, why not host the event in public schools or in a community center or a more relevant and accessible place for parents and families?

I guess if AllLivesMattering is your intent, you don’t bring the road show to places where black or brown people might interrupt the whitewash.

Wow.

Where I come from (southside of Lansing Michigan near MLK and Miller) whitewashing is derogatory:

[Whitewashed] is a term used to describe a minority who has assimilated with western society. The “White washed” person does not necessarily abandon his/her own culture but rather embrace others beside his/her own.

This is brand new ad hominem from the top down, private-control and privatization reformers. I guess they are trying to say I am not “down enough” because my scholarship is critical of top down, private-control and privatization approaches to educational policy.

I am pretty sure they are calling me a jive turkey.

Eban first proposition was that the talk was “weird” and that I did not discuss community-based reform. Check out the University of Minnesota talk and consider if Eban’s arguments about the content holds water.

The point of the talk was to contrast the different between community-based, democratically-controlled reform and top down, private-controlled reform. I think Eban may have missed the thesis.

I do agree with Eban’s thought that the message about education reform needs to provided to stakeholders across communities. In fact, my first act after being elected Education Chair of the California NAACP was to travel to a community center in South Central Los Angeles to meet with parents and other community members. More recently, not only did I catch a redeye this weekend to discuss race on campus on MSNBC (post coming tomorrow), but I will also meet with community stakeholders in Ohio at the end of this week.

I ain’t the jive turkey.

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About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (661 Articles)
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

9 Comments on Thanksgiving Leftovers: Julian Vasquez Heilig is a Jive Turkey

  1. Sorry for all the “repeat” posts … it appeared on my computer that it wasn’t sent and I kept re-sending. M.J. Thornbug

    Like

  2. This is dedicated to a true Civil Rights hero: Dr. Robert Brown who will be 93 this December.

    So, there it is! It’s number 2, He is purposely using the “false narrative” of civil rights! Thanks you, Robert D. Skeels and AliFan. I’m old-er! In my early days in education in the 60s in Alabama near Selma, one of the true Civil Rights Leaders – Dr. Robert Brown, Greene County, would often identify for us who the “Uncle Toms” were. We were young, white, Teacher Corps Interns from the LBJ, “War on Poverty” era. The
    synonym now is someone who is “Self-colonized” …

    Dr. Brown, was a WWII hero Normandy Beach and the Battle of the Bulge with the 761st “Negro” Tank Battalion under Gen. Patton, that also liberated a Jewish Concentration camp. He was a friend of Hosea Williams, also a WWII Vet. who was MLK’s liaison to Greene Counties historic voting rights victory in 1969. His distinguished career in Civil Rights led to his becoming the South’s first Black Superintendent of County Public Schools in segregated Alabama when George Wallace was the Governor.

    His important legacy was hidden until 2013 when he was inducted into the “Black Belt Hall of Fame” along side George Washington Carver also from the Black Belt. It’s a farming region with Selma and Montgomery, AL, heart of the Civil Rights Movement in the middle. Dr. Brown in his day, like Dr. JVH knew whites and blacks and he knew a “Jive Turkey” aka an “Uncle Tom” when he saw one. His daughter who cares for him hates the term “Uncle Tom” but he still uses it.

    Like

  3. This is dedicated to a real Civil Rights Hero and Leader: Dr. Robert Brown, 93 years old this Dec.

    So, there it is! It’s number 2, He is purposely using the “false narrative” of civil rights! Thanks you, Robert D. Skeels and AliFan. I’m old-er! In my early days in education in the 60s in Alabama near Selma, one of the true Civil Rights Leaders – Dr. Robert Brown, Greene County, (A friend of Hosea Williams, MLK’s political liaison – and also a WWII Vet) would often identify for us who was and wasn’t an “Uncle Tom” as we were young, white, Teacher Corps Interns from the LBJ “War on Poverty” era. We were ignorant about the culture of segregation and the South.

    The synonym now, I see, is someone who is “Self-colonized” … Dr. Brown, a WWII hero, Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge with the 761st “Negro” Tank Battalion under Gen. Patton, also liberated a Jewish Concentration camp. That was before his distinguished career in Civil Rights and then as the South’s first Black Superintendent of County Public Schools, 1970-1980, in segregated Alabama when George Wallace was still the Governor.

    His important legacy was hidden until 2013 when he was inducted into the “Black Belt Hall of Fame” alongside George Washington Carver also from the Black Belt of Alabama. It’s a farming region with Selma and Montgomery the heart of the American Civil Rights movement in the middle. Dr. Brown in his day, like Dr. JVH today, knew whites and blacks and he knew a “Jive Turkey” aka an “Uncle Tom” when he saw one. Dr. Brown graduated from Alabama A & M, and Tuskegee University with a Master’s Degree in Chemistry and Physics and he attended U C Berkeley in a doctorate program in the 60s where he could have stayed a taught. No! He chose to return to his home in AL and fight for Civil Rights. His daughter, to this day, hates the term, “Uncle Tom” but he still uses it!

    Like

  4. This is dedicated to a real Civil Rights Hero and Leader: Dr. Robert Brown, 93 years old this Dec.

    So, there it is! It’s number 2, He is purposely using the “false narrative” of civil rights! Thanks you, Robert D. Skeels and AliFan. I’m old-er! In my early days in education in the 60s in Alabama near Selma, one of the true Civil Rights Leaders – Dr. Robert Brown, Greene County, (friend of Hosea Williams, MLK’s political operative – and also a WWII Vet) would often identify for us who the “Uncle Toms” were. We were young, white, Teacher Corps Interns from the LBJ “War on Poverty” era.

    The synonym now, I see, is someone who is “Self-colonized” … Dr. Brown, a WWII hero, Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge with the 761st Tank “Negro” Tank Battalion under Gen. Patton, also liberated a Jewish Concentration camp. That was before his distinguished career in Civil Rights and then as the South’s first Black Superintendent of County Public Schools in segregated Alabama.

    His important legacy was hidden until 2013 when he was inducted into the “Black Belt Hall of Fame” along side George Washington Carver also from the Black Belt of Alabama. It’s a farming region with Selma and Montgomery and the legacy of American Civil Rights in the middle. Dr. Brown in his day, like Dr. JVH today, knew whites and blacks and he knew a “Jive Turkey” aka an “Uncle Tom” when he saw one.

    Dr. Brown graduated from Alabama A & M and Tuskegee University with a Master’s Degree in Physics and Chemistry. He attended a doctorate program at U C Berkeley where he could have stayed and taught. No! He chose in the 60s to return to his home in AL when George Wallace was still the Governor and fight for Civil Rights. His daughter, to this day, hates the term, “Uncle Tom”, but he still uses it!

    Like

  5. This is dedicated to a real Civil Rights Hero and Leader: Dr. Robert Brown, 93 years old this Dec.

    So, there it is! It’s number 2, He is purposely using the “false narrative” of civil rights! Thank you, Robert D. Skeels and AliFan. I’m old-er! In my early days in education in the 60s in Alabama near Selma, one of the true Civil Rights Leaders – Dr. Robert Brown, Greene County, (friend of Hosea Williams, MLK’s political liaison – and also a WWII Vet) would often identify for us who the “Uncle Toms” were! We were young, white, Teacher Corps Interns from the LBJ “War on Poverty” era.

    The synonym now, I see, is someone who is “Self-colonized” … Dr. Brown, a WWII hero, Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge with the 761st “Negro” Tank Battalion under Gen. Patton, also liberated a Jewish Concentration camp. That was before his distinguished career in Civil Rights and then as the South’s first Black Superintendent of County Public Schools in segregated Alabama.

    His important legacy was hidden until 2013 when he was inducted into the “Black Belt Hall of Fame” along side George Washington Carver also from the Black Belt of Alabama. It’s a farming region with Selma and Montgomery and “America’s Civil Rights legacy” in the middle. Dr. Brown in his day, like Dr. JVH today, knew whites and blacks and he knew Jive Turkey’s aka an “Uncle Tom” when he saw one! Dr. Brown graduated from Alabama A & M and later with a Master’s Degree in Science from Tuskegee Institute. He attended U C Berkeley where he could have stayed and taught and finished his doctorate there. No! He chose instead, the 60s when Gov. George Wallace was still in office, to return to his home in AL and fight for Civil Rights. His daughter, to this day, hates the term, “Uncle Tom” but he still uses it!

    Like

  6. So, there it is! It’s number 2, He is purposely using the “false narrative” of civil rights! Thanks you, Robert D. Skeels and AliFan. I’m old-er! In my early days in education in the 60s in Alabama near Selma, one of the true Civil Rights Leaders – Dr. Robert Brown, Greene County, would often identify for us who the “Uncle Toms” were. We were young, white, Teacher Corps Interns from the LBJ, “War on Poverty” era. The
    synonym now is someone who is a “Self-colonized” … Dr. Brown, a WWII hero, Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge with the 761st Tank “Negro” Tank Battalion under Gen. Patton, also liberated a Jewish Concentration camp. That was before his distinguished career in Civil Rights and then as the South’s first Black Superintendent of County Public Schools in segregated Alabama. His important legacy was hidden until 2013 when he was inducted into the “Black Belt Hall of Fame” along side George Washington Carver also from the Black Belt – region of Selma and Montgomery, AL. Dr. Brown in his day, like Dr. JVH knew whites and blacks and he knew Jive Turkey’s aka “Uncle Toms” when he saw them.

    Like

  7. Consider the source; Kenneth Eban’s funders and their mission is to privatize public education. Kenneth works for SFER, which is a jive turkey organization with corporate funding. Kenneth does the work of Stewart and TFA’s Matt Kramer, who started SFER and pulls the stings of Ed reform locally and nationally, “He helped launch the group Students for Education Reform in the state, and served as board chair for the education reform organization 50CAN.” (http://www.startribune.com/teach-for-america-ceo-helped-transform-the-program/352725141/)
    More on SFER jiveturkeys :
    https://jonathanpelto.com/2012/04/24/now-wait-who-is-that-grassroots-group-students-for-education-reform/

    Too bad Kenneth won’t dedicate himself to the classroom and work with students, instead of working for the colonizers. https://www.studentsforedreform.org/spotlight/kenneth-eban/

    Like

  8. Self-colonized Kenneth Eban and all the other respectability politics steeped corporatists on Citizen Stooge’s blog are best summed up by this quote from Professor Khaled A. Beydoun: http://socialjusticequotations.tumblr.com/post/107277978918/theres-never-a-short-supply-of-people-of-color

    Like

  9. Hello Dr. JVH: “Aristocratic Control” ? Yes, this criticism is a good description! Let me attempt to contrast your criticism with the criticism of you personally, i.e., with the use of the “false civil rights narrative” that I believe is advanced by Kenneth Eban at the Citizen Ed. His criticism of you raises some questions for me: 1. Is he simply “the blind man touching the “elephant” (education from his own local experience and frustration) ? or, 2. Is he purposely using the “false narrative” of civil rights? 2. Is he simply repeating a common refrain that was, by the way, successfully advanced in the beginning by those frustrated with the inner city school bureaucracies in the 70s (Including (reformed) Diane Ravitch, myself at UNO, and many, many others including TFA advocates)?

    Do you remember the “Accelerated Schools Project” by Henry M. Levin at Stanford? UNO in Louisiana was a participant when I was there working on my PhD. At the same time, others, connected with the “Aristocratic Control” of education were co-opting research such as the “Learning GAP” Stevenson and Stigler, – and, Pearson Education (and many others) were able to co-opt the “testing market” in education (nationally) as you remarked. That’s another part of the ” education elephant” and most of us are blind and unable to see the entire picture – the subject of your life’s work as a professor of education policy!

    My own personal characterization of these phenomenon borrows from Ike’s parting warning about the “Military Industrial Complex” … and I characterize this phenomenon as the “Educational e-Industrial Complex” … born from the cloth of NCLB, You, JVH, and few other brave souls (now including Diane Ravitch) continue to battle. Personally, I’m now a proud CA Teacher Association (CTA) member and a demoted CA Public School Administrator – who challenged the “School to Jail Pipeline” … “Keep on Keeping On!” I say, using the words of the old Civil Rights slogan from the past. Best of luck, No, you’re not the Jive Turkey!

    Like

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