Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Corporate Assault on Public Education

This from the Horace Mann League:
The Assault on Public Education: Confronting the Politics of Corporate School Reform, edited by William H. Watkins, interrogates the ways in which neoliberalism and corporate school reform have become tools to attack American public education. Drawn from the “critical studies” tradition—that is, a broader application of critical theory to capitalist hegemony—this collection of essays by nine authors addresses “Who benefits?” and “Who loses?” (p. 3) in a time when neoliberalism widens, not narrows, the economic, political, and cultural inequity in American public education. The book aims to “re-imagine” and “create” public spaces to educate students who value democratic dialogues, collaboration, and equity.

Major contributions of the essays are the powerful case studies that elaborate the causes and the consequences of the privatization of education. Readers can investigate the outcomes of corporate school reform in Oakland, Chicago, and New Orleans public schools, such as raising costs on education, using tax dollars to realize profits for corporations, and implementing outcome-oriented goals in education. This book debunks the myths that elites, the rich, or outside experts can “save” the lives of the underprivileged through competition-based school reform. Rather, under the guise of equality, choice, and accountability, current corporate-oriented school reform supports meritocracy, for-profits in education, and survival of the fittest. The real lessons of Neoliberalism are that “the poor subsidize the rich” (p. 99) and that “one group’s reform can be another group’s calamity” (p. 100). The nine chapters of this book provide concrete examples of social inequity resulting from neoliberal, corporate-model, and venture philanthropy-initiated educational reform...

Hat tip to Tom.

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