Document Type

Book Review


When Literacy with an Attitude: Educating Working-Class Children in their own Self-Interest (1999/2009) was published, Patrick J Finn framed his argument for teaching powerful literacy to poor, working-class children as a matter of justice. Powerful literacy is the education our children deserve because it fosters critical thinking about complex ideas and prepares young people to consider multiple perspectives and their own interests as they make life decisions. Finn exposed disparities in the aims and means of educating students according to their social class. Poor, working-class students received functional literacy that taught compliance, while students from privileged backgrounds were taught powerful literacy that promoted independence and leadership. The aims and means of education were distinct, separate and unequal, dispensed according to one’s social class.

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