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Demands for silencing signify a terror of words, a fear of talk. This essay examines these demands as they echoed through a comprehensive public high school in New York City. The silencing resounded in words and in their absence; the demands emanated from the New York City Board of Education, book publishers, corporate sponsors, religious institutions, administrators, teachers, parents, and students. In the odd study of what's not said in public schools, one must be curious about whom silencing protects, but vigilant about how silencing students and their communities undermines fundamentally the vision of education as empowerment (Freire 1985; Shor 1980).


This article was originally published in Language Arts, vol. 64, no. 2, February 1987.



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