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Indoctrination, Not Education: Rampant Radicalism in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

Chapter 1 - The Sad Saga of Dori Kozloff

Chapter 2 - GSEIS - A Closer Look

Chapter 3 - Par for the Course(s)

Chapter 4 - Coloring the Definition of Diversity

Chapter 5 - Sandra Harding

Chapter 6 - Peter McLaren

Chapter 7 - Daniel Solorzano

Chapter 8 - Clara Chu

Chapter 9 - Take Action

Indoctrination, Not Education: Rampant Radicalism in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

By Andrew Jones
Chapter 6
The GSEIS Professoriate - Peter McLaren

    The destructive totalitarian ideals inherent to Harding’s gimlet-eyed criticism of all things male and scientific are present in similar form in the work of Peter McLaren.  As noted in his profile, McLaren “is many things, but he is first and foremost the most highly regarded social science scholar in all of UCLA.”[i]  This is by no means faint praise.  But despite his international academic stardom, Peter McLaren remains a man of contradictions, at once both a dangerous and malevolent political force both at home and abroad, and a seriocomic public figure who some might accurately (though impolitely) label a kook. 

    McLaren is particularly prone to embarrassingly maudlin partisan anecdotes and declarations, a habit on display no more clearly than in a April 11, 2006 UCLA Today newspaper article.[ii]  The piece, which described McLaren’s appearance as “a cross between a rock star and a motorbike enthusiast,” (some might say a rather juvenile pose for a man well into middle age), closes with McLaren’s confession that his right and left shoulders bear tattoos of, alternately, socialist killer Che Guevara and Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.  The story concludes in comical fashion: “Both struggled for peasants,” McLaren said somberly.  “I will die with them.”

    As a ‘say-what?’ moment, McLaren’s silly declaration is hard to beat.  But the reader is already desensitized by this point, reeling from earlier content just as addle-brained, if not more so.  The article, plainly derived from a single sit-down interview with McLaren, reprints his self-serving anecdotes as Gospel truth.  Most laughable among these is McLaren’s tale of his “miracle in Lubbock.” 

    The story stems from his appearance at the 2006 convention of the Texas National Association for Multicultural Education, held in Lubbock, Texas on the campus of Texas Tech University.  As McLaren transparently dictated through the author, “Some of the event’s organizers were evidently aware that McLaren…rarely pulls punches.  So the organizers warned him to stay clear of three topics they said were sacred in Lubbock: guns, God and George W. Bush.”  As McLaren breathlessly relates, “the next day I went ahead and criticized Bush, the war in Iraq, imperialism, racism, growing fascism and how these are all related to issues of democracy and education.  And guess what – those who packed the assembly hall rose and gave me a standing ovation.  I call it the miracle in Lubbock.”

    We’ll pause here so you can pick yourself up off the floor as McLaren apparently had to do.  A miracle, eh?  At a “Multicultural Education” summit, no less!  Clearly McLaren is the very picture of bravery. 

    McLaren hypes this silly story as though he had given his usual hate-America stump speech at the Crawford, Texas Grange Hall or from the podium at the National Rifle Association annual convention.  But let’s get real here.  While the story’s narrative claims that organizers were merely “aware of McLaren” and his reputation, that’s meaningless spin.  McLaren was invited specifically because of his raving Marxism, not in spite of it. 

    McLaren claims to have been scared of what he might face for his extremist remarks.  Let’s get real again.  This is a group of educators who as a group are 90% Democrats and invariably fall to the left of the American mainstream.  Moreover, this particular audience was composed of teachers willing to travel to Lubbock, Texas to celebrate the growing multicultural political agenda in the classroom.  The only “miracle in Lubbock” would have been if the audience contained a single attendee who had voted for George W. Bush, owned or had ever even fired a gun, or held anything approximating conservative or fundamentalist Christian beliefs.  For accuracy’s sake, let’s call it what it is: ‘the foregone conclusion in Lubbock.’

    McLaren bills himself as a “democratic, critical educator,” which is so much window-dressing for the fact that like all Freireanists, he supports the politicization of education – specifically, pushing students into direct radical political action or into the subversion of K-12 and higher education for the same ultra-left goals.  Peter McLaren is not interested in doing what’s right for the students, he’s interested in the imposition of a totalitarian state and economic system – easily proven by his self-proclaimed status as a “Humanist-Marxist.”

    Unsurprisingly for a prolific writer and speaker who has faithfully beaten the anti-U.S. war-drums since arriving here from Canada, McLaren is considered the cat’s pajamas on foreign soil, and is a particular hit in the Third World.  In short, any country visited by economic misery and political turmoil is almost certain to be visited, sooner or later, by McLaren himself.  And, like any demagogue worth his salt, McLaren can pick from his voluminous bag of rhetoric and deliver a stem-winder on any number of different hate-America topics.

    McLaren’s effect in the classroom is just as insidious.  McLaren has been entrusted with the core Ph.D. education seminars “The Structure and Dynamics of the Educational System,” “Education in a Diverse Society,” and regular classes like “Seminar on Critical Pedagogy,” “Seminar on Malcolm X and Education,” and “Pedagogies of Resistance and Globalization: Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, Zapatismo.”  What the philosophies of a Mexican revolutionary like Emiliano Zapata have to do with the American educational system is apparently a secret known only to McLaren and his lucky students.

    McLaren speaks proudly and publicly about the poisonous effect of his teaching.  “Most of my doctoral student advisees are getting their PhDs so that they can become professors and transform teacher education institutions,” McLaren notes. “They were radical teachers and/or social activists who now want to help to transform institutions of ‘higher’ learning.”[iii] 

    Influenced in no small part by McLaren’s intellectual Kool-Aid, “many students in [UCLA’s] graduate school of education took action against the imperialist war on Iraq,” McLaren relates.  They “organized protests, challenged professors who supported the war, and made links with social movements inside and outside of the university.”  Or, stated in a much simpler way, this Marxist professor helped turn out Marxist teachers who in time will themselves do their best to turn out Marxist K-12 students.  It’s almost Biblical: Indoctrination begat Indoctrination begat Indoctrination…