Publication Date: April 12, 2008
Just in time for the 2008 elections, The Seduction of Common Sense offers a powerful examination of current education policy initiatives as framed by the rhetoric of the political Right and the political Left. Critical of both sides, Kumashiro first provides a searching look at the Right and shows why it has succeeded so well in winning the debate about the purposes and possibilities of education. Here he brilliantly illuminates how the Right uses particular “frames”—appeals to conservative notions of the traditional family, free enterprise, goodness, and fear—to shape the public’s common sense ideas about schooling and build support for its attacks on public education and social justice reforms.
Turning then to the Left he shows how it has failed to win support for its initiatives and goals, especially regarding racial disparities in schools. More importantly, he argues that the Left must “reframe” common sense about education to embrace a commitment to human rights, a belief in equality, and a quality education for all of our children. This is must-reading for anyone concerned about the future of public education, especially right now.
Kevin K. Kumashiro is an associate professor of policy studies at the University of Illinois–Chicago, College of Education, and the founding director of the Center for Anti-Oppressive Education.
“This is one of the most thoughtful books on education I have ever read.”
—Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and oral historian
“This book is important as we figure out how to fight back and reaffirm the value of a child’s life and the importance of creative and humane education.”
—From the Foreword by Herbert Kohl, author of 36 Children and Painting Chinese
"In the No Child Left Behind era, it's clear that the Right has seized control of the discussion on education. The Seduction of Common Sense is a bold, intellectually ranging, and inspiring challenge to educators, parents, and activists to reframe the debate and reshape the agenda."
—Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
"The Seduction of Common Sense shakes those rickety old frames that produce the congenital boredom of the classroom. Students want more. So does Kevin Kumashiro. His book is a little gesture toward a new classroom, toward the vitality of our students’ imaginations.
—Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations: A People¹s History of the Third World.
“A brilliant and concise guide to Right-wing trends and their impact in the classroom, as well as a much-needed map for a broad Left to reframe its approach to teaching and social change. Everyone who cares about teaching and our common future must read this book!
—Helen Zia, author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People