Thursday, January 14, 2010

Guest blogger Bill Schubert

Bill Schubert, 2007 winner of the Mary Anne Raywid Award, is SmallTalk's guest blogger.

Remembering Mary Anne Raywid and Her Contributions

Mary Anne Raywid was a major influence in education – history and philosophy of education, social foundations of education, democratic education, educational choice, small schools, teacher education, and more. She was a pioneer – one of the few women who worked at high levels in realms of educational philosophy, history, and other foundational disciplines.

When I entered the field of curriculum and educational foundations, Mary Anne was a dynamic presence. She nurtured and led many. I first saw her when I was a doctoral student attending the 1974 at the annual conference of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), a large organization that also served as an umbrella group to bring together a network of philosophically oriented associations: The John Dewey Society for Education and Culture, The American Educational Studies Association, and The Society of Professors of Education.

Over the years, Mary Anne was a leader in all of these. She also took an interest in those beginning the professoriate, and encouraged us to understand that a responsibility that lies deep within our privilege to have a lifetime of study is to advocate. In an editorial position with the Journal of Teacher Education, sponsored by AACTE in 1980 she accepted an article I wrote called Professors Should Advocate. I was thrilled to be published, and continue thirty years later to argue that professors should advocate and take action to overcome injustices and enact more humane possibilities. This has been the spirit of Mary Anne’s work.

One of her early books was called The Ax-Grinders (Raywid, 1963) wherein she showed her ability to grapple with critics of public schools. An advocate of quality and choice in public schools as a basis for democracy, she and colleagues from AESA (with Don Warren and Charlie Tesconi, 1984) wrote Pride and Promise: Schools of Excellence for All People. This book was a brilliant antidote to A Nation at Risk, the 1983 the National Commission of Excellence in Education report. Over the years, themes of advocacy, activism, and democracy continued to permeate her work. Relative to the accountability craze, she has asked us to ponder deeply about what is worth measuring. She has highlighted our attention to progressive reforms from the renowned Eight Year Study (1933-1941) through the counter culture movement of the 1960s, the open and alternative schools of the 1970s and early 1980s, through small schools and charter schools of the past two decades, working closely with the Small Schools Workshop and many other reform ventures.

In 1996, The Society of Professors of Education inaugurated the Mary Anne Raywid Award, which was given to Maxine Greene. Subsequent recipients include Gloria Ladson-Billings (1997), Larry Cuban (1998), William Hare (1999), Herbert Kliebard (2000), Douglas Simpson (2001), Faustine Jones-Wilson (2002), O. L. Davis, Jr. (2003), William Pinar (2004), Wayne Urban (2005), Geneva Gay (2006), William Schubert (2007), Daniel Tanner (2008), and Joel Spring (2009). I was deeply honored to be one of the recipients of an award in Mary Anne’s name. The last time I met her was at the meeting when this award was given in 2007 in Chicago. We had a great conversation – remembering educational scholars and events in the field, and moving quickly as Mary Anne was wont to do into a discussion of matters of mind and heart – concerns for life’s mysteries – bases of what education should address.

Mary Anne was an exemplar for progressive democracy, critical awareness, and practice on the ground. She lived her study and her advocacy. Her legacy is substantial and continues in the lived experience of many she influenced.

Bill Schubert University of Illinois at Chicago

1 comment:

  1. Lovely essay about Mary Anne Raywid, with its emphasis on the progressive, activist movement of her life and work, and her nurturing of those who must carry it on.
    On her 2007 Chicago visit during AERA, Mary Anne stayed with us, and we sat up late ruminating; she was beyond indignant about Bush and everything to do with him and his policies on every front. She devoted herself to voter education in Hawaii through the League of Women Voters and was jubilant at the outcome.
    Mary Anne used her voice to speak for educational justice in all its complexity.



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