ERIC Number: EJ1001564
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 86
Neoliberalism, Social Darwinism, and Consumerism Masquerading as School Reform
Tienken, Christopher H.
Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, v43 n4 p295-316 May 2013
Education reform policies harvested from neoliberalism, social Darwinism, consumerism, and free-market ideologies have begun to replace the pragmatic progressivism of the pre-World War II era. In this article, I use three federal and state education reform policies and programs--No Child Left Behind Act, Common Core State Standards Initiative, and national standardized testing--as examples of market-oriented ideologies embedded in the reforms. Further, I rely on Critical Social Theory, following Freire, as a framework to examine how the education policies and programs intersect to potentially impede access to quality education opportunities for children from impoverished backgrounds. I use Freire's conception of Critical Social Theory because of his focus on how education should be used as a transformational mechanism to improve lives rather than a tool to train and inculcate children to imitate and be subservient to the dominant culture. I argue that some federal education policies enacted since 2002 provide examples of the confluence of ideologies that are creating a new meritocracy-based system. The meritocracy-based system will disproportionately penalize poorer students who have less access to out of school experiences that prepare them for formal schooling. Based on punishment triggers embedded in state and federal education policies, a cycle of educational austerity ensues when a student does not achieve a mandatory achievement benchmark. The cycle of austerity can doom some students to under-achievement in the short term and to becoming under-educated in the long term.
Descriptors: Neoliberalism, Consumer Education, Social Attitudes, Free Enterprise System, Ideology, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Federal Legislation, Educational Legislation, Elementary Secondary Education, Core Curriculum, Academic Standards, State Standards, Standardized Tests, Social Theories, Access to Education, Punishment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001