Currently, the idea and definition of learning and literacy is being pushed and pulled in competing directions. Current governmental policies, most notably embodied in the No Child Left Behind law, are pushing the definitions to mechanical enterprises aimed at the lowest common denominator. At the same time, the technology race is working to open access to being learned and literate to populations that are traditionally underrepresented in these arenas; however, at the same time, this technology is setting up new barriers that act to limit access. Finally, the student population of schools in the United States is quickly becoming the most diverse in the history of U.S. public education. This diversity is putting pressure on the ideals of learning and literacy to be opened up to more forms of knowing and being. Critical pedagogy offers the best opportunity to understand and respond to the current debate. Under this lens, being learned and literate are social constructs and, therefore, can and should be shaped to best meet the needs of all people.

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