A professional education consultant and teacher trainer argued at the White Privilege Conference (WPC) in Philadelphia that great teachers must also be liberal activists, and described in detail her goal for destroying the “white supremacist” nature of modern education.
Heather Hackman operates Hackman Consulting Group and was formerly a professor of multicultural education at Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University, where she taught future teachers. On Friday, Hackman was given a platform at WPC to deliver a workshop with the lengthy title “No Freedom Unless We Call Out the Wizard Behind The Curtain: Critically Addressing the Corrosive Effects of Whiteness in Teacher Education and Professional Development.” The long title masked a simple thesis on Hackman’s part: Modern education is hopelessly tainted by white supremacy and the “white imperial gaze,” and the solution is to train prospective teachers in college to be activists as well as pedagogues.
In fact, Hackman argued teachers shouldn’t even bother teaching if they aren’t committed to promoting social justice in school.
“Education is not about the mere reproduction of knowledge,” Hackman said. “Education is the practice of freedom. And as a result, we have to have [teaching] students becomes activists as well as teachers.”
Creating educators who are proper activists, Hackman continued, means training them to not only to encourage diversity but also to engage with the systemic oppression she says is pervasive in the entire educational system. In Hackman’s telling, virtually everything associated with being a good student in modern education is actually just a tool of racist white supremacy.