Education Can End Systematic Oppression

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Paolo Frieri’s 1968 work Pedagogy of the Oppressed is a comprehensive Marxist class analysis of the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, and while written nearly half a century ago in the context of poor and illiterate Brazilians, this dynamic is perhaps just as relevant today in the industrialized West. Frieri was particularly interested in the close affinity between education and liberation from oppression, but understood that certain educational philosophies lead to liberation’s dichotomous sibling – the upholding, and even strengthening, of the social institutions causing oppression. These ideas provide valuable insight into the ramifications of the growing expectation for all American students to attend college and…show more content…
This, in conjunction with several other factors such as severe underfunding from both national and state governments, has forced post-secondary educational institutions to find funding from alternative sources. The largest of these alternative sources are corporations, driving one of the most radical changes in the operation and function of the American university in its entire history. This corporatization of higher education takes away the empowerment of students by being literate in multiple intellectual traditions and replaces it with the allocation of a very narrow skill-set. “Part of the corporatization . . . is imposing a business model which measures success in extremely narrow, commercial terms. What’s good for simply gaining material wealth, contributing to profits and so on” (Chomsky). Giroux writes that “higher education is defaulting on its obligations to offer young people a quality and broad-based education. This is true in part because the liberal arts and humanities have fallen out of favor in a culture that equates education with training.”
This newly emerging state of education as a form of training, rather than cultivation of the mind, scarily resembles the first model of education presented in Frieri’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Part of this trend (and evidence of a state of
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