Arizona Elementary Teacher Leading Strike: ‘Teaching Is Political’

#RedForEd
Twitter/@Noah__Karvelis

A leader of the Arizona teacher strike scheduled for Thursday has urged his colleagues on Twitter to teach political activism to their students and to discuss with them gun control, white supremacy, and anti-capitalism.

Yet, Arizona elementary music school teacher Noah Karvelis states teachers are engaging in the strike because “students deserve better”:

Karvelis, who is heading up the teachers’ movement #RedForEd, is a student of “critical pedagogy,” a teaching approach inspired by the Frankfurt School, or critical theory, and other radical philosophies that aim to develop Marxism.

Last November, he recommended to his colleagues the book A Pedagogy of Anticapitalist Antiracism: Whiteness, Neoliberalism, and Resistance in Education by Zachary A. Casey:

Karvelis teaches music – specializing in hip hop – at Tres Rios Service Academy in Tolleson, Arizona. His curriculum vitae states he served as campaign manager to elect Democrat Kathy Hoffman for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction and was also a volunteer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

“Teaching is political and silence is complicity,” he posted to his Twitter account in December 2017. “Things more educators should discuss (especially if they work with young (white) men in the classroom in 2018: gender, feminism, and #MeToo, race, gun violence”:

Karvelis’s alternate narrative after the Parkland school shooting and the concern about the mental health issues of accused shooter Nikolas Cruz was: “Emphasize gun control; emphasize toxic/violent masculinity; emphasize whiteness/white supremacy”:

Karvelis uses Black Lives Matter ideology in his teaching which, he tweets, allows him to connect “black identity” to political “activism” for his students:

He cites as an accomplishment of his political activism discussions with his students the fact that “last year students petitioned the gendered school dress code”:

Karvelis tweeted in March that #RedForEd has allowed him to have discussions with students in his classroom about “workers’ rights, labor movements, civil disobedience, and fighting for necessary social change”:

This month, Karvelis gave an interview – while sitting in his public-school classroom with students present – about #RedForEd to Radio Sputnik, which is owned and operated by the Russian government. During the course of the interview, listeners can hear the school bells — which are noted by the host — and Karvelis himself admits students are present in his classroom.

The Daily Beast reported in February that “internal documents show that guests never make it onto [Radio Sputnik’s] airwaves without the approval of a state-owned media organ close to Russia President Vladimir Putin.”

“We’re seeing Arizona continue to escalate actions,” Karvelis said during the interview, stating that teachers in his state are among the lowest-paid in the nation. “We’re organized now, we’re mobilized, we have a group of over 40,000 members organized within a group we’re calling Arizona Educators United, and we’re continuing to take action, formalizing our demands, all sorts of things.”

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