Anthropologists and sociologists have long studied socialization (the process by which individuals learn to become functioning members of their own culture, and thereby human society). More recently, some anthropologists have focused their attention on a narrower aspect of socialization ' education (formalized as "the educational system" in societies such as ours). Anthropologists who do fieldwork among students, teachers, administrators, and school settings are often critical of the ways in which "differences from the purported norm" (in such domains as race, gender, language, ethnicity, economic class, and biopsychological functioning) are defined, valued, and treated by powerful interests within and beyond the school system. At the same time, outside the field of anthropology, proponents of the approach known as critical pedagogy (such as Paolo Freire, Peter McLaren, Henry Giroux, and Michael Apple) have been and continue to be highly critical of the educational system as they see it operating in North America. Considering both of these two avenues of critique ' the anthropology of education and critical pedagogy ' this course examines multiple views of "the education system" as seen and articulated by parents, disability advocates, teachers, and students (as well as anthropologists and critical theorists), with special attention given to the intersection of formal education systems with disability, socioeconomic position, and minority (particularly Native American, African-American, and bilingual) experience. The goal of studying, discussing, analyzing and interpreting these views is twofold. First, students explore how different types of critiques focus on differences that have been socially constructed to "matter" in particular educational contexts. Beyond that, this course also aims to facilitate students' ability to produce for themselves a knowledgeable critique of critiques on the subject of contemporary patterns of socialization and education.