Dr. Wayne Ross: « The fear created by precarious existence in the neoliberal world discourages critical thinking »

Publié le par Mohsen Abdelmoumen

Dr. Wayne Ross. DR. (Photo: Documento News Athens, Greece)

Dr. Wayne Ross. DR. (Photo: Documento News Athens, Greece)

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: In your book Neoliberalism and education reform, you make an alarming observation of the era of neoliberalism. Can we have a school of knowledge under a neoliberal policy? Simply, can we have an education under the neoliberal yoke? Are neoliberalism and education compatible?

Dr. Wayne Ross: In short, the answer in no, education and neoliberalism are not compatible. At root this incompatibility stems from the antipathetic relationship between capitalism and democracy, but let me elaborate on education and neoliberalism.First, it matters what we mean when using the term education. Of course, the giving and receiving of systematic instruction in schools, and elsewhere, is a key means by which the politics of truth are officially defined. Public schools, that is government sponsored schools, have been and continue to be profoundly conversing in nature, illusion factories whose primary aim is reproduction of the existing social order, where ruling ideas exist to be memorized, regurgitated, internalized and lived by.

In education, neoliberalism has been manifest in what Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg has dubbed the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM), which includes: increased competition between students and schools; commodification of education via “school choice,” which positions students and parents as consumers in an education marketplace; and powerful systems of accountability tied to standardized testing and the standardization of what can be taught and learned in schools. This corporate/state regulation and administration of knowledge, is a move that enables « systems of unaccountable power » (Chomsky’s phrase) to make self-interested decisions ostensibly on behalf of the public when, in fact, most members of the public have no meaningful say in what or how decisions are made or in what can count as legitimate knowledge. This, of course, is purposeful and involves the coordinated control of such pedagogical processes as goal setting, curriculum development, testing, and teacher education and evaluation, the management of which works to restrict not only what and who can claim the status of “real” knowledge, but also who ultimately has access to it.

GERM marketizes (or “deregulates”) public education systems, opening the door for extraction of profits from a public service via school management (education management organizations); off-shore schools and selling seats in schools and universities on the international market; massive regimes of standardized testing that are boon to publishers selling the tests and the textbooks; using public money to support private schools via vouchers, etc.

While public education is forced into the economic marketplace, the marketplace of ideas is shut down. What exists here is an unambiguous, power-laden connection between the regulation of knowledge on the one hand and the (de)regulation of the economy on the other, a joint effort by the politically, culturally, and economically powerful (nominally on behalf of the public) designed to stifle popular democracy while simultaneously enhancing the profits of multinational corporations and the ultra-rich. It is a reproductive and circular system, a power-knowledge-economics regime in which the financial gains of a few are reinforced by what can count as school (and thus social) knowledge, and in which what can count as knowledge is determined so as to feed the financial greed of corporations.

A conspicuous example is the history curriculum where, as John Marciano in Civic Illiteracy and Education argues, « students are ethically quarantined from the truth about what the U.S. has done in their name. » This is particularly true with regard to U.S. perpetrated and sponsored aggression abroad, which are most often represented to students as unfortunate or accidental by-products of essentially humane policies that serve the « national interests, » while what constitutes the latter remains unexamined.

Those who administer the economy in their own self-interests are those who regulate the production and dissemination of knowledge and vice versa, all the while working superficially in the public interest, but intentionally excluding any authentic public involvement. Teachers and local school communities are left without the authority to bring their collective resources to bear on a matter as important as the education of their children. The people who know children best, families and teachers, must give way to tighter control over what happens in classrooms by people who are not in the classroom or even from the community. Despite rhetoric linking GERM to benefits for all within the vast constituency of public schools, the fact is that those who regulate both knowledge and the economy are working for their own political and economic agendas, acting as though the public extended no farther than their privately secured office buildings and comfortably gated communities.

Your observation in your book Battleground Schools and your proposals in your book Critical theories, radical pedagogies, and social education: New perspectives for social studies education are enlightening. Do you think that the United States model of education is reformable?

Of course there are many things that can be done to mitigate the deleterious effects that neoliberalism has on education in North America and beyond, but education as a social, cultural, political and economic undertaking cannot be reformed apart from the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism.

Do we need to know how to reform education, schools, teaching, or do we need a educational revolution? Do reformist approaches to educational change lead us closer to revolution or are they a distraction? I don’t believe reform or revolution is an either/or question, but I don’t believe tinkering toward utopia is a successful strategy. Making a choice between reformist or revolutionary action is certainly a normative question, we cannot discover what ought to be the case research, we must decide what ought to be the case, as philosopher Paul Taylor made clear decades ago.

Indeed if we look at the way the world is, with its injuries of class and the compounded miseries of the injustices and discrimination along the lines of race, gender, sexuality, ability etc. our decisions may not be determined, but what moral standard would allow us to turn away from critical examination of the root causes of the exploitation, subordination, dependence, and insecurity that mark global capitalist society and its schools? Capitalism and the “logic of the market” ratifies, reproduces, and deepens the persistent inequalities of wealth, income, justice, health care, and education we find in North America and across the world today. For example, Whites are now the most segregated group in US public schools, attending institutions that on average are 80 percent White.

Standardized testing is not the great equalizer it is often portrayed to be in the mythical meritocracy of the U.S. public schools. Rather standardized testing puts children of color and children of poverty at a disadvantage. This is a disadvantage that begins early in a child’s education and repeats itself again and again. Black and Latino students are more subject to high-stakes testing—tests that have serious consequences attached to the results—than their White counterparts (35 percent of African American and 27 percent of Latino 8th graders will take high-stakes tests compared to 16 percent of White students.)

Organizing people for change is a key part of revolutionary action, and has Carl Oglesby observed revolutionaries “shouldn’t be scared of being reformed out of things to do.” Building organizations (like the Rouge Forum, which I’ve been involved with for two decades), forming alliances with allies to achieve short-term goals; and generally being effective in our work in the social, educational, and political institutions as they currently exist are crucial parts of what it means to engage in revolutionary action. But our work within the institutions of capital (whether these are schools, universities, or other social and educational organizations) must be done with a keen eye on how, through our daily activities, we reproduce our social situations, the social relations and the ideas of the society.

Could you explain your concept of « dangerous citizenship », which is very present in your various works?

The notion of dangerous citizenship is something I developed with one of my frequent co-authors, Kevin D. Vinson. Early on we were inspired by the work of the Situationists, and the events of May 1968 in Paris. We asked ourselves how we could use the work of Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem in particular, to understand and respond to contemporary education contexts.

May 1968 in France was a revolutionary moment aimed at transforming the social and moral aspects of the “old society” and was focused in particular on educational institutions. Hundreds of thousands of university students and their allies ­­– including high school students, but not trade unions and established left – took over universities and battled with police and the military while invoking Situationist inspired slogans such as: Soyez réalistes, demandez l’impossible (“Be realistic, demand the impossible”). 1968 saw student rebellions around the world in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, across Europe and the United States. In many cases the state responded violently. In Mexico, police and military occupied UNAM, the largest university in Latin America, and massacred hundreds (perhaps thousands) of students at Tlatelolco. Two years later, in May 1970, the Ohio National Guard would kill four and wound nine others during anti-war protests and Mississippi police would kill two and wound 12 student protesters at Jackson State College.

It is quite clear that exercising popular democratic rights with the aim of transforming the “old society” is a dangerous undertaking. Schools have always been about some form of social or citizenship education—about helping students to become good or effective citizens—framed primarily from an essentialist view of good citizen as knower of traditional facts, but there have been attempts to develop a social reconstructionist view of the good citizen as agent of progressive (and even radical) social change. Given its fundamental concern with the nature of society and with the meaning(s) of democracy, social studies education (i.e., history, geography, civics) has always been a contested territory in the classroom and curriculum.

Dangerous citizenship is about crafting an agenda dedicated to the creation of education that struggles against and disrupts inequalities and oppression. Classroom practice that is committed to exploring and affecting the contingencies of understanding and action and the possibilities of eradicating exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence in both schools and society.

In essence, dangerous citizenship requires that people, as individuals and collectively, take on actions and behaviors that bring with them certain necessary dangers (like the students in 1968, for example); it transcends traditional maneuvers such as voting and signing petitions, etc. and instead strives for a praxis-inspired mindset of opposition and resistance, an acceptance of a certain strategic and tactical stance. Of course, the implication is that dangerous citizenship is dangerous to an oppressive and socially unjust status quo, to existing hierarchical structures of power.

Dangerous citizenship embodies three fundamental, conjoined, and crucial generalities: political participation, critical awareness, and intentional action. Its underlying aims rest upon the imperatives of resistance, meaning, disruption, and disorder. In essence dangerous citizenship is a conceptual container for the developing a radical critique of education as social control and a collection of strategies that can be used disrupt and resist the conforming, anti-democratic, anti-collective, and oppressive potentialities of education and society.

The premises of dangerous citizenship include: (1) democracy and capitalism are incompatible; (2) teachers and curriculum have been subjected to intensifying policy regimes that attack academic freedom and discourage critical social analysis; (3) Capitalist schools are aimed at social control and winning over children to be loyal, obedient, dutiful and useful to the ruling classes; and (4) Civil obedience, not disobedience, is the problem we must overcome to transform education and society.

Dangerous citizenship challenges assumptions about the state of the world and requires exploration of questions that make some uncomfortable: Given what we know about the lack of democracy in the United States and world today, is it even possible to teach for a democracy that is not dominated by capital? Do we want to teach for capitalist democracy? Is there an alternative? Is the concept of democracy bankrupt? Is democracy as a concept and practice even salvageable? If democracy is salvageable then it seems to me that teaching about and for democracy in contemporary times cannot be done without engaging the complexities and contradictions that have come to define what really existing (or non-existing) democracy is. It is a practice that must be understood as difficult, risky, and even dangerous.

I have long been intrigued by the public pedagogy of politically inspired performance artists who aim to creatively disrupt everyday life through creative resistance, much like the Situationists, and I see these as powerful imaginaries for a pedagogy of dangerous citizenship.

In your latest book Rethinking social studies: Critical pedagogy and the pursuit of dangerous citizenship, you said that social studies are the most dangerous of all school subjects. Can you explain why?

Like the school, the subject matter of social studies is full of alluring contradictions. It harbors possibilities for inquiry and social criticism, liberation and emancipation. Social studies could be a site that enables young people to analyze and understand social issues in a holistic way – finding and tracing relations and interconnections both present and past in an effort to build meaningful understandings of a problem, its context and history; to envision a future where specific social problems are resolved; and take action to bring that vision in to existence.

Social studies could be a place where students learn to speak for themselves in order to achieve, or at least strive toward an equal degree of participation and better future. Social studies could be like this, but it is not. Unfortunately, more often than not the study of history, geography, and politics in schools is more akin to propaganda for the status quo.

Our challenge, particularly in a time of standardized curriculum and heightened surveillance of teachers’ work is to have the courage to re-imagine our roles as teachers and find ways to create opportunities for students to create meaningful personal understandings of the world. What we understand about the world is determined by what the world is, who we are, and how we conduct our inquiries. Education is not about showing life to people, but bringing them to life. The aim is not getting students to listen to convincing lectures by experts, but getting them to speak for themselves in order to achieve, or at least strive for an equal degree of participation and a more democratic, equitable, and justice future. This approach to social studies is potentially liberating and revolutionary.

In addition to your very informative books, you make conferences around the world to raise awareness about the topic of education. How do you assess the impact of these conferences?

Conferences alone are not going to change world, that’s clear. But making connections with other academics, teachers, and students is a key part of working for change. Engaging in dialogue, critical intellectual challenges, is part of the dialectical processes of social change. Transformative, or revolutionary, education is a construction that is never finished.

The dialogue with colleagues and fellow educators is crucial to building a caring inclusive community that understands an injury to one is an injury to all. This is part of the credo of the Rouge Forum, a group of educators, students, and parents I have worked with for years, all of us are seeking a democratic society and we realize that in order to construct a more democratic way of life we have to unite people in new ways, across social, racial, sex/gender, and national divides while also dealing with an opposition that is often ruthless. Friendships and solidarity are as important as theoretical clarity in the project of educational and social transformation and organizations and conferences, in this way, are necessary, but not sufficient.

More specifically, The Rouge Forum conferences bring together a wide range of people on the left of the political spectrum including liberals, greens, democratic socialist, revolutionary Marxists and anarchists. The same can be said of the most recent International Conference on Critical Education in Athens, Greece, which included hundreds of participants from Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia with a wide range of far left political commitments. The hallmarks of both these conferences is that they are political and pedagogical, while taking care to build a critical community that embraces a diversity of views, while sharing certain significant goals, e.g., greater equality, more democratic relations among humanity, and eliminating capitalism.

You are working in depth for years on the issues of education and pedagogy. If you had recommendations to make to Third World countries, such as Algeria, for example, my home country which has difficulty with the current educational model and has difficulty in reforming it, even if you do not know the specific case of this country, which would be the priorities according to you?

I appreciate your question and would not dare suggest that I have a full understanding of the political and educational issues of Algeria, but I do strongly believe in some fundamental principles of education, which I have written about, including the aims of education, what schools should strive for, the subject matter, how we learn, and the connection between education and social progress. We don’t have the time for me to cover all these areas, but I would suggest the highest priority of education should be the creation of a society where people have the agency and capacity to make their own free choices and act independently based on reason not authority, tradition, or dogma.

Perhaps the most important factor in achieving this goal is the subject matter of education, with this in mind, these are my beliefs regarding knowledge and the curriculum:

  • Knowledge is derived from and maintained by social interactions and developed through language.
  • Reality is contingent on human practices, constructed by individuals in dialectical interaction with others and with their world (i.e., through experience).
  • Truths are relative to contexts.
  • Meaning is constructed internally and socially.
  • Knowing is an ongoing and dynamic process of interpretation.
  • Individuals have agency and choice, but are also constrained by recursive interactions between self and the environment/social system.
  • There should be no restrictions on the subject matter or topics included in the school curriculum.
  • Worthwhile curriculum knowledge takes the form of personal meanings that express both truth and value (intelligence and a moral stance).
  • Reduced to its most basic elements, schools should seek to create conditions in which students can develop personally meaningful understandings of the world and recognize they have agency to act on the world, to make change.
  • Education is not about showing life to people, but bringing them to life. The aim is not getting students to listen to convincing lectures by experts, but getting them to speak for themselves in order to achieve, or at least strive toward an equal degree of participation and better future.

With the gigantic work you are doing at the education level, are governments not interested in listening to you or, on the contrary, does your work disturb the establishment?

When anyone in government considers my work, it’s highly likely they think of it as disruption to the standard operating procedures. I am almost always adopting a critical stance toward government initiatives, particularly in my home province, British Columbia, which has been ruled the past 16 years by one of the premier examples of neoliberal political parties.

Foucault said that practicing criticism is a matter of making facile gesture difficult. Governments always rely on facile, oversimplified explanations for public policies. For example, in North America governments have long claimed that increased student testing and teacher accountability will lead to improved educational outcomes. The evidence, from before and after implementation of GERM infected education policies, shows otherwise.

Good education is similar to Foucault’s description of criticism, it’s a process that involves going below the surface of knowledge claims and critically examining the assumptions upon which the claims rest. Flushing out and trying to change thought that is unchallenged, showing that things are not as self-evident as they seem to be.

In Canada and the U.S., my work has been more oriented toward engaging in critical ways with governments via teachers unions and grassroots coalitions who are focused the experiences of students and teachers in schools, including conditions of learning as well as the nature of the curriculum.

I am currently involved in the creation of an independent think tank on education in Vancouver, which focuses on the education in the public interest, that is, children, families, and communities as opposed to education to create compliant citizens and meet the needs of industry.

Is critical thinking banned from universities? For what purposes do you think the Empire seeks to offer poor and low education?

Well, you might think so in some circumstances, but no. Critical thinking is not banned within the university, but there are disciplinary and institutional hegemonies that threaten academic freedom and discourage critical thinking.

The best example of the disciplinary hegemony can be found in economics departments, where economics is neoliberal capitalism period. The Post-Crash Economics Society was created by a group of economics students at the University of Manchester with the intent of challenging the discipline and curriculum of economics in universities to be more connected to the economic reality the world is facing. PCES has expanded into an international movement that includes students from over 20 countries demanding more open, diverse, and pluralistic economics curriculum.

Teacher education in the U.S., has also been co-opted into the aims of GERM, with teachers prepared to work in schools where curriculum is pre-determined, where there is little room for professional decision-making, and the focus is on producing high test scores for students. Teachers jobs and evaluation are linked to their students test scores and now universities that produce teachers are evaluated based upon their graduates’ students’ test scores!  Both of these circumstances illustrate the restrictions on the critical thought and practice within the university, but PCES students are leading the way in terms of students’ resistance.

Academic freedom is more broadly threatened through so-called respectful workplace policies, requirement for “trigger warnings” to alert students to material that might be considered “disturbing,” and the growing intolerance on campus for divergent social/political views, which has lead to suppression of free speech on campus.

In Canada and the U.S., these new policies, which anticipate or respond to workplace legislation and court decisions, mean that academic freedom and charter or constitutional rights noticeably contract at the campus gates. The Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), issued a memorandum in late March 2009 advising vigilance: “the test of ‘disrespect’ identified in these policies is for the most part experiential and subjective – notions like ‘feelings of shame’ or ‘embarrassment’ crop up repeatedly.” He subsequently asserted, “a major problem in Canadian universities is not that too many people are asserting their academic freedom, but that too few are.”

Regarding the treatment of schools and universities by Empire, well there are at least primary explanations for quality of education available to students. First, neoliberal social policies in general aim to cut public expenditures for social services such as education and health care. For example, in British Columbia the 16 year reign of the neoliberal government (BC Liberals) produced massive cuts to school funding, resulting in hundreds of teachers losing their jobs, school closures, and an estimated $5 billion in deferred maintenance for school buildings. In 2001, the B.C. government put 20% of its total spending into education, now it spends just 11.8% of its budget on education and it is estimated that parents now spend $132 million yearly in subsidies to public education. This is an example of how neoliberalism shifts social costs on to individuals. At the same time, the B.C. government gives public money to subsidize private schools, many of which serve the rich and charge thousands of dollars in tuition. Feeding the rich, starving the poor.

Secondly, public schools and universities are now viewed as pipelines that supply the human capital needs of corporations and industry. Schools are giant sorting machines, for some, primarily poor and people color students, school are a pipeline to prisons or the military. For others, schools and universities are merely about acquiring the credentials for needed for work, not education in the sense of enlightenment or creating a personally meaningful understanding of the world. And, with the insecurity of employment, material and psychological welfare is undermined. The fear created by precarious existence in the neoliberal world discourages critical thinking and encourages students (an teachers and professors) to focus on education to survive in the world as it is. In this sense then, the education system is actually working as it is intended by ruling classes.

You are very active in being both professor, co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Critical Education Studies, for which you are co-editing two flagship journals Critical Education and Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor. You also co-edit Cultural Logic, a journal of Marxist theory and practice. You co-founded the Rouge Forum and you often speak in newspapers, radios, TVs, etc. It is a considerable course marked by great achievements. A professor’s profile such as yours, with a critical thought and an intellectual requirement, tends to disappear in favor of an uniformity and a lack of intellectual rigor. How do you explain the current decline in the education sector, and in particular in the university, which is normally a symbol of knowledge and which produces the political, economic and intellectual elite of a country?

What is, or is not, published in scholarly journals goes a long way toward establishing the boundaries of a field, legitimizing some perspectives and methodologies and negatively sanctioning others. The first manuscript I submitted to the most prominent journal in my field prompted an ideologically driven ad hominem response from reviewers. Looking back, that particular manuscript was problematic in a number of ways, but in terms of my future work as a journal editor that experience helped me to see that merely preserving the dominant discourses of the field will set it on a path of terminal decline, driving away scholars who see themselves as sharing the concerns of the field, but who think differently about them. I strived to present readers with articles that reflected both what the field is and what it might become.

My political activism has included extensive work in education unions, where I struggled with others for educators’ rights to fair compensation and working conditions that supported student learning. Simultaneously, I was an activist for increased democracy within unions, advocating an organizing model or social-movement unionism, focused on boosting involvement of the rank-and-file in grassroots-oriented solidarity campaigns. My union activism crossed over to my activism in academic organizations, both before and after the formation of the Rouge Forum and continues with the Institute for Critical Education Studies located at UBC and the newly formed think tank, the Institute for Public Education/BC.

As a educator, I have always been concerned with social institutions and how they control human conduct, channeling it in one direction as opposed to many other possible directions. The controlling characteristics inherent in governmental and economic structures, social relations, systems of education and mass media, for example, must be targets of sustained, critical analysis as part of our efforts to realize democracy. As a result, I have come to understand writing for the popular press, not as a sideline, but a central part of what it means to be an engaged educator. I have appeared on television and radio and written for daily newspapers, political journals, union periodicals, even the weekly community paper on issues ranging from high-stakes testing, curriculum standards, charter schools, public funding of education, to academic freedom, labor rights, statist views of education, and racism. If we confine our work as educators to the classroom we’re likely to have little success, at least in terms of goals that follow from a vision of social studies education as encouraging informed social criticism.

The central concern of democratic theories of all types is how people can have the information, knowledge, and forums for communication and debate necessary to govern their own lives effectively. The media and schools are key mediums in the pursuit of a democratic society, and if these systems undermine democracy then it becomes almost impossible to conceive of a viable democratic society. Both of these institutions appear to be failing the public. But there are two key issues we must always remember when considering the ideals (and failures) of these two pillars of democracy. The questions to ask about the media and public schools are: (1) In whose interests do they operate? and (2) do these institutions provide and promote informed social criticism?

Engagement with the media is, of course, different from academic writing or teaching, but it does not require a uniformity of thought nor does it mean you engage the topic being discussed with less intellectual rigor. Writing for newspapers or being interviewed on the radio or television does require me to be focused on a single point, but that does not mean oversimplifying. Staking out a clear position is typically what the media is looking for from any contributor. Providing well-sourced information and analysis in clear, powerful, and direct language is always my aim, and I never compromise on my own political and intellectual commitments.

For example, I have often appeared in the media analyzing labour strive between government and teacher unions. The reason I am asked to contribute is because of my expertise in education and independent of the parties in conflict. While my political opinions are always in support of the teacher unions, my analysis is evidence-based.

My experience in writing for newspapers and contributing to radio and TV is that it’s about much more than just sharing your opinion and moving on to the next issue. My media contributions have resulted in deeper engagements in a variety of communities. I have had the chance to develop relationships with editors, reporters, folks who think like me and not a few who don’t. One important outcome for me personally is that these experiences have opened up opportunities for me to learn and become more actively involved in various local and national networks of activists for social justice, democracy, and progressive education. And, of course, I hope to I have made substantive contributions to debate on the issues.

Academics do often pursue questions that are seen by the public as, well, merely academic. But as Noam Chomsky wrote during the throes of the US war against Vietnam “it is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak truth and expose lies.” I believe this maxim and try to live up that responsibility. It is important for academics to leave confines the ivory tower and join in the fray, if you will.

Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen


Who is Dr. Wayne Ross?

Dr. Wayne Ross is Professor of Education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Originally from the Carolinas, he taught pre-school, high school, and university in North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, New York, and Kentucky prior to joining the faculty at UBC.

He teaches and writes about the politics of curriculum, critical pedagogy, social studies education, and academic labor. He is interested in the influence of social, political, and institutional contexts on teachers’ practice. His research and teaching focus on the role of curriculum and teaching in building democratic communities that are positioned to challenge the priorities and interests of neoliberal capitalism as manifest in educational and social policies that shape both formal and informal education experiences.

In recent years, his principal research interests have been the influence of the educational standards and high-stakes testing movements on curriculum and teaching. Investigating the surveillance-based and spectacular conditions of postmodern schools and society, his aim has been to develop a radical critique of schooling as social control and a collection of strategies that can be used disrupt and resist the conforming, anti-democratic, anti-collective, and oppressive potentialities of schooling, practices he describes as dangerous citizenship

Dr. Ross is co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Critical Education Studies and co-edits the Institute’s flagship, open access journals Critical Education and Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor.

He also co-edits Cultural Logic , which has been on-line since 1997, and is an open access, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal publishing essays, interviews, poetry, and reviews by writers working within the Marxist tradition.

Dr. Ross has written extensively for newspapers and magazines on education and social issues and has contributed to numerous radio and television outlets. His education activism includes playing a key role in the creation of The Rouge Forum, a group of educators, parents, and students seeking a democratic society through dialogue and direct action. The Rouge Forum brings together education activists in a variety of projects and regularly sponsors regional and national conferences.

Dr. Ross wrote numerous books, including the most recent: Ross, E. W. (2017). Rethinking social studies: Critical pedagogy and the pursuit of dangerous citizenship. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing; McCray, N., & Ross, E. W. (Eds.). (2016). Working for social justice inside and outside the classroom: A community of teachers, researchers, and activists. New York: Peter Lang; Ross, E. W. (Ed.). (2014). The social studies curriculum: Purposes, problems, and possibilities (4th Ed.). Albany: State University of New York Press; DeLeon, A. P., & Ross, E. W. (Eds.). (2010). Critical theories, radical pedagogies, and social education: New perspectives for social studies education. Rotterdam: Sense.[Winner of the 2011 “Critics Choice Award” from the American Educational Studies Association]; Gabbard, D., & Ross, E. W. (Eds.). (2008). Education under the security state. New York: Teachers College Press; Mathison, S., & Ross, E. W. (Eds.). (2008). Battleground schools (Vols. 1-2). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press [Winner of the 2010 “Critics Choice Award” from the American Educational Studies Association]; Mathison, S., & Ross, E. W. (Eds.). (2008). Nature and limits of standards-based reform and assessment. New York: Teachers College Press; Ross, E. W., & Gibson, R. (Eds.). (2007). Neoliberalism and education reform. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. [Winner of the 2008 “Critics Choice Award” from the American Educational Studies Association].

Published in American Herald Tribune, August 10, 2017: http://ahtribune.com/in-depth/1833-wayne-ross.html

In Palestine Solidarité: http://www.palestine-solidarite.org/analyses.mohsen_abdelmoumen.110817.htm