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Don’t Fool Yourself. Education is Politics.

Systemic oppression is endemic in public education. It’s time we faced our fears and called it out.


Jared Fritzinger is a Civics and Economics teacher at Old Donation School in Virginia Beach, VA. He has been teaching for about 9 years. Before teaching he delivered sandwiches and worked in a mail room while he toured as a drummer in various punk rock bands. He also got a master's degree in history with a minor in political science from Old Dominion University somewhere in there.

He received the 2019 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators for his work with the EcoBus project and developing a schoolwide capstone course for 8th graders. After partying all night the night before at an Iron Maiden concert, he got to meet the head of the EPA. Maiden was cooler.

He is married to Becky, who is a way better teacher than he is, and they have a 2.5 year old daughter named Shirley who acts just like Jared. He is starting a blog/podcast called Education in the Wild where he explores and celebrates nontraditional educational pathways and the people who follow them. Find out more at edinthewild.com.

In a recent post on Medium.com, Edjacent contributor and long-time equality and justice advocate Jared Fritzinger reminded all educators, most especially those suddenly waking up to the ways privilege has shaped our lives as students and as teachers, that education is and always has been political. Through stories from his own experiences in a variety of teaching settings and words from his own students, Jared shows us that our work in public schools cannot and should not be separate from our deepest beliefs about how the world is and should be. According to Jared:

  • We made education political when we redlined Black people out of the suburbs.

  • We made education political when we tied school funding to property tax assessments.

  • We made education political when we created draconian dress codes that punish nonwhite culture and female bodies.

  • We made education political when we allowed the slow creep of fundamentalist evangelical Protestant Christianity into our buildings in the form of organizations like Young Life or events like See You at the Pole Day.

  • We make education political when we defund mental health and special education services, but always have money for new athletic fields and uniforms.

  • We made education political when we made the school cafeteria the major meal source for hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged kids and then served them processed trash out of a sealed plastic wrapper so we could save a few pennies.

  • We made education political when we started utilizing street cops to enforce school discipline codes in buildings, and we definitely made education political when we decided that it was acceptable to sacrifice the lives of a few dozen school-aged children every year so that people could continue to feel like heroes cosplaying in the streets with their AR-15s.

At the moment, the young and most oppressed of us are speaking that truth in the streets of cities all across America. The sleeping giant is awake; here’s me hoping it wins this time.


Read the full blog post, Don’t Fool Yourself. Education is Politics. and let us know what you think in the comments!

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