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”:
This is why we fight. Our students deserve better! https://t.co/shJGMKL6N8
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) April 21, 2018
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:
This one is a must-read for any teacher, but especially critical pedagogues. One of the best contributions I've come across. 🙌👏🙌👏 pic.twitter.com/grPD5c6Ntl
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) November 28, 2017
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”:
Things more educators should discuss (especially if they work with young (white) men) in the classroom in 2018:
1. Gender, Feminism, & #MeToo
3. Gun Violence
Teaching is political and silence is complicity.
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) December 10, 2017
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”:
Emphasize gun control.
Emphasize toxic/violent masculinity.
Emphasize whiteness/white supremacy.
We have to face uncomfortable topics to stop this. https://t.co/b2Ck6ypqDb
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) February 16, 2018
Karvelis uses Black Lives Matter ideology in his teaching which, he tweets, allows him to connect “black identity” to political “activism” for his students:
#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool for our class means
1. Using @kendricklamar and Lauryn Hill to discuss black identity
2. Connecting this identity to activism and
3. Removing my voice as much as possible and letting the students and the culture speak. #HipHopEd
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) February 7, 2018
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”:
Last year, we studied the intersectionality of Lauryn Hill's life/work. Then, wrote raps centered upon feminist issues. Several of the 8th-grade women then extended the work/consciousness into a petition against the sexism of the school dress code. #HipHopEd
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) February 28, 2018
Connecting Tricia Rose's work on the representation of black women in hip-hop with the lives of young women and the actions of young men can be powerful.
Last year students petitioned the gendered school dress code because of Lauryn's example. #HipHopEd
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) February 7, 2018
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”:
Two personal favorite parts of #RedForEd so far:
1. Seeing educators so empowered.
2. The incredible discussions this has started with my students on workers’ rights, labor movements, civil disobedience, and fighting for necessary social change.
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) March 25, 2018
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.”