Lisa Rullsenberg kindly responded to me in the comments to the previous post, but alas, dear reader, I felt it needed a whole new post to respond to her in turn. Her reply was so sweetly reasonable, so insouciant, that had she been selling double-glazing I would have signed on the spot. Fortunately, 'by their writings shall you know them'!
Despite Lisa's gushing insistence that she would never, honestly never, try and inculcate her beliefs into her pupils and that all she was interested in was ".. opening possibilities for engaging with debates, not accepting anything at face value, critically analysing all sides of debates and considering the evidence/ideas that support them. That is what education can and should encourage." Her words, mark! So, in the spirit of "not taking anything at face value", I checked some of her previous writings, all of which are direct copy and paste quotes:
She wished ".. to teach others how to understand and fight to undo the inequalities built in to the systems of power."
According to her, "[t]o truly challenge the system, you cannot just have an feminist approach to art history: you have to reinvent the structures, the very foundations of power that allow the structure to marginalise and keep down the role and contribution of women."
Also, she ".. like[s] to upset the apple cart of expectations at places like Nottingham Uni, which has a high quota of "nice" (urgh) middle class boys and gals utterly disconnected from the real world."
As for the new pope, this free-thinking, open-minded pedagogue came up with: "It's a reaffirmation of the confrontational conservative stance taken by the church in the last two decades."
And as for the Tory party, she 'critically analysed' the whole subject and came to this conclusion that "it omits the important element of nasty racism that is rife in their mentality".
Finally, this desperate-to-be-fair-and-even-handed teacher of young minds offers us this gem: "Am I too radical for thinking that abolition of fee-paying schools would be a good step in the right direction? That encouraging non-selection would be positive? That fundamental changes have to be wrought to address how and why access to education: the means of understanding and then challenging the social system".
Now please do not misunderstand. Ms. Rullsenberg is absolutely entitled to these opinions. Indeed, these days they are not exceptional opinions. In the world of academe they line up in rows like toy nodding-dogs in the back of a Cortina if you produce these sort of, well, ideas isn't quite the word, perhaps agit-prop is more accurate. So, I'm afraid that Ms. Rullsenberg is hardly a rebel. But is she, and here I choose my words with care, a teller of untruths? On the whole I think not. She mentioned Dickens in her comment, so I will use a very fine old Dickensian word to sum her up: She's a humbug!
Reading all those quotes makes it impossible for anyone (except her, apparently) to believe that she is either capable or desirous of taking up her debating cudgels on behalf of re-action against progression, capitalism against socialism, the retention of the patriarchal family unit against whatever feminists believe should take its place, and so on. It is nearly always a mistake for the elderly to attempt the use of youth argot, but all I can say to Ms. Hellsenberg is, "Get real!" Or to use an expression I am more familiar with, "Don't kid a kidder!"