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Empowerment Versus Patriarchal Values

Foundations of Self EsteemNative AmericanWestern Patriarchal Values

Empowerment Values

SignificanceBelongingIndividualism

CompetenceMasteryWinning

PowerIndependenceDominance

VirtueGenerosityAffluence

Patriarchal values and the developmental needs of children are strikingly disharmonious.

1.  Instead of belonging, the hyperindividualism of Western society breeds an “ecology of alienation” (Broafenbrenner, 1986).

2.  In the place of mastery, traditional schools play a competitive zero-sum game in which enthroning “winners” ensures

    abundant losers.

3.  When one’s need for power is expressed by dominating others, all who are subjugated are disempowered.

4.  A culture that equates worth with wealth provides its young a sanction for selfishness.

Successful programs for at-risk youth embody a unifying theme of values grounded in the holistic needs of children.  Wozner (1985) defined the key difference among educational environments as whether they are “reclaiming” or “nonreclaiming.”  Reclaiming schools are organized to meet the needs of both the young person and of society.  Nonreclaiming schools operate to perpetuate the system.  The distinction is whether one is teaching students or tending school.

Blueprint for a Nonreclaiming School

Examining some attitudes and practices of nonreclaiming schools can operationalize these abstractions.  Next, with some hyperbole, we offer a compilation of comments we have heard in various schools.

EDMS 512, Hood

Summer 2006

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