Understanding Neoliberal Rule in K-12 Schools

Educational Fronts for Local and Global Justice

Edited by:
Mark Abendroth, SUNY Empire State College
Brad J. Porfilio, Seattle University

A volume in the series: Critical Constructions: Studies on Education and Society. Editor(s): Brad J. Porfilio, California State University, Stanislaus. Marc Pruyn, Monash University. Derek R. Ford, DePauw University.

Published 2015

The word fundamentalism usually conjures up images of religions and their most zealous followers. Much less often the word appears in connection with political economy. The phrase “free market” gives the connotation that capitalism is freedom. Neoliberalism is the rise of global free-market fundamentalism. It reaches into nearly every aspect of our daily lives as it seeks to dominate and eliminate the last vestiges of public domains through wanton privatization and deregulation. It degrades all that is public. The good news is that a global community of resistance continues to struggle against neoliberal oppression. Formal and informal education entities contribute to these struggles, offering visions and strategies for creating a better future.

The purpose of this volume is twofold. Several contributors will highlight how the neoliberal agenda is impacting educational policy formation, teaching and learning, and relationships between K-12 schools and communities. Other contributors will highlight how the global community has gradually become conscious of the ideological doctrine and how it is responsible for human suffering and misery.

The volume is needed because the growing body of educational research linked to exploring the impact of neoliberalism on schools and society fails to provide conceptual or historical understanding of this ideology. It is also an important scholarly intervention because it provides insights as to why educators, scholars, and other global citizens have challenged the intrusion of market forces over life inside K-12 schools.

Teacher educators, schoolteachers, and anyone who yearns to understand what is behind the debilitating trend of commercial forces subverting humanizing educational projects would benefit from this volume. Activists, educators, youth, and scholars who seek strategies and visions for building democratic schools and a society would consider this volume essential reading.

Introduction, Mark Abendroth and Brad J. Porfilio. Section I: Demystifying Neoliberalism’s Effects on K–12 Education. Saved by the Bell?: Stigma and Salvation in the Inscription of Neoliberal Subjectivities, Melissa K. Smythe. The Role of Big Data and “Personalized Learning” in the Privatization of Public Education, Heather Roberts-Mahoney and Mark Garrison. Neoliberalism and Contemporary Reform Efforts in Mississippi’s Public Education System, Kamden K. Strunk, Leslie A. Locke, and Melandie K. McGee. An Ironic Alliance: A Case Study Approach to the Conflict Between Charity and Solidarity in an Urban Public School, Amy Brown. Neoliberalism, Global Cities, and a Public–Private Partnership: An Educational Response to Neoliberal Urbanism, Howard Menard. From Standardized Testing to the War on Libya: The Privatization of U.S. Education in International Context, Derek R. Ford. Idiots!: Why Critical Educational Theory Isn’t Critical Enough, David Gabbard. Section II: Harm to Communities and Schools. Education, Crime Control, and Coherence in the Neoliberal State, Jeremy Benson. The Testing Industrial Complex: Incarcerating Education Since 2001, Mari Ann Roberts. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education is Not Only an Integrated Curriculum: STEM as Part of an Integrated Neoliberal Agenda, Heidi J. Stevenson. The Neoliberal Agenda for Public Education: A Eulogy, John M. Elmore and Dana M. Simone. Section III: Communities and Schools in Resistance. From Occupy to Equity: Enacting School Reform That Subverts the Neoliberal Agenda, Alan Tinkler. Allies Against Common Corp: An Invitation to Stand Together, Casie Fedukovich. The Socially Just School Speaks Back to Neoliberalism, John Smyth, Barry Down, and Peter McInerney. Teacher Unionism Reborn, Lois Weiner. Theorizing in the Belly of the Beast: Resisting the School-to-Sweatshop Pipeline, Caitlin Cahill, David Alberto Quijada Cerecer and Leticia Alvarez Gutiérrez. Whiteness, Nationalism, and Neoliberalism: What Pat Buchanan and the Right Can Teach Us About Resisting Neoliberalism in Schools, Zachary Casey. Disentangling Higher Order Thinking from Neoliberalism and Moving Toward a Democratic Vision of Schooling, Stephen Vassallo and Marlon Cirker. Epistemology and Apostasy: The Role of Education in Times of Neoliberal Hegemony, John A. Cassell and Thomas Nelson. Resistance at the Roots: Indigenizing Mainstream Education to End Neoliberal Violence, Four Arrows (Wahinkpe Topa) aka Don Trent Jacobs. About the Editors. About the Contributors.