At (the) stake

How do academics become active in making change? How does academia become activist? I posted about this a few days ago, and I’m still not sure I have an answer. I’m reading The Great American Education-Industrial Complex for my Pedagogy in Urban Classrooms course and it’s a revelation: shadow governments, “flexians” who move between for-profit jobs and government positions to influence policy, people in power shaking hands and going to bed together (I’m speaking metaphorically but who knows?)…terrifying. Our public schools are becoming zones of profit-hunting and it’s getting worse, while kids and families struggle with testing stress, economic stress, housing stress, life stress…

Do we academics just study these troubling phenomena, write a few articles, feel like we’re contributing to the cause, and then get our cushy tenured professorship when we’ve put in the requisite work? I’m sure every one of my colleagues and professors would say “no,” but how many cry foul from the sidelines (including myself) without getting in the game where blood is drawn and reputations and income are at (the) stake?

What sacrifice is needed for real change?


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