NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ1194412
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1946-7109
The Simpsons and the Savior Teacher/Deficit Parent in Popular Culture
Shafer, Rowan
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v15 n1 Sum 2018
The savior teacher/deficit parent narrative has become a public pedagogy in America, evidenced by the rise of Teach for America, and the threat of extreme neoliberal education reforms by the Trump administration. In this paper, I examine how the popular television show, "The Simpsons," upholds and challenges familiar tropes of the savior teacher/ deficit parent narrative. Drawing on Michael Apple's theory of the enterprising individual as a trait of neoliberal education ideology, I analyze the ways in which the episode "Lisa's Substitute" strays from predictable narratives through a focus on parent/child relationship vs. teacher/student relationship. I conclude that while this episode highlights and satirizes tropes of the savior teacher/deficit parent narrative, ultimately, the resolution does not challenge assumptions about working class parents as a barrier to their children's success or the missionary role of teacher saviors.
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A