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ERIC Number: EJ725599
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug-1
Pages: 25
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0195-6744
Providing for the Priceless Student: Ideologies of Choice in an Emerging Educational Market
Davies, Scott; Quirke, Linda
American Journal of Education, v111 n4 p523 Aug 2005
The growing popularity of school choice is typically linked to the spread of neoliberal ideology. Identifying four components of this ideology, we examine the rationales of providers in an emerging private school market. Data come from interviews and site visits at 45 "third-sector" private schools in Toronto, Canada. We find that only one of the four components has a strong resonance among these educators. Few private school operators sharply criticize public schools, compete via quantitative performance indicators, or are strongly business oriented. However, they voice a philosophy of matching their personal talents to the needs of "unique" children. Overall, rather than being influenced by neoliberalism, these providers are more directly driven by personalized rationales that prize tailored education in specialized niches. We draw two conclusions from these findings. First, they demonstrate how ideologies of choice are shaped by their market setting, in this case, small proprietorship, in contrast to a corporate environment. Second, they highlight how providers can be motivated by new cultures of consumerism and intensive child rearing when working in highly uncertain conditions. We recommend that theories of choice recognize the range of educational markets and the specific motives of their providers. (Contains 10 notes.)
University of Chicago Press, Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-753-3347; Web site:; e-mail:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada (Toronto)