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A Modest Proposal Reimagined—Hope, Utopian Pedagogies, and Higher Education


by Jeanne Marie Iorio & Clifton Tanabe — December 10, 2015

As previous classroom teachers and now faculty and administration in higher education, we spend time teaching, researching, writing, influencing (at least attempting to), and implementing educational policy and practices. Braced by our experiences as educators and our commitments to the principles of justice and equity we highlight the often odd and irrational approaches to addressing the woes of education plaguing the United States. Framed by Swift (1729) and his infamous A Modest Proposal where he suggests the poor sell their children to the rich and privileged as food, we look at the absurdity of recent educational policy and practice and wonder, facetiously, if this same absurdity has been the inspiration for much of the current construct of the K-12 education system and what our role in higher education is to counteract absurdity.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: December 10, 2015
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18828, Date Accessed: 12/18/2017 3:56:31 AM

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About the Author
  • Jeanne Marie Iorio
    Victoria University
    E-mail Author
    JEANNE MARIE IORIO is a senior lecturer at Victoria University, Melbourne. Prior to her move to Australia, she worked as an assistant and associate professor at University of Hawaii-West Oahu. While completing her doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University, she began disrupting and rethinking accepted early childhood practices and this continues to inform her research, teaching, and writing. Her research interests include arts-based research methodologies, neoliberalism in higher education, pedagogies engaging with place, and the power of viewing children as capable. She recently published (with co-editor Will Parnell) Rethinking Readiness in Early Childhood Education: Implications for Policy and Practice (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015) and Disrupting Early Childhood Education Research: Imagining New Possibilities (Routledge, 2016).
  • Clifton Tanabe
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
    E-mail Author
    CLIFTON S. TANABE has a Ph.D in Educational Policy Studies and a Law Degree, both from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. His scholarly interests include higher and K-12 education law and policy, educational and political philosophy and multiculturalism. Dr. Tanabe is the founder and former Co-Director of the Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Currently, he is Executive Assistant to the Chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, and holds the positions of Associate Professor in the College of Education and Lecturer in Law in the William S. Richardson School of Law also at UH Mānoa. He has served as the Director of the Leaders for the Next Generation Program and as Co-Director of the Hawaii Education Policy Center also at UH Mānoa. His publications can be found in Teachers College Record, Philosophy of Education Society, Journal of Inquiry and Action in Education, Educational Change, and Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal.
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