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ERIC Number: EJ872803
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
The Ebay-ification of Education: Critical Literacy in a Consumerocracy
Brannon, Lil; Urbanski, Cynthia; Manship, Lacy; Arnold, Lucy; Iannone, Tony
English Journal, v99 n3 p16-21 Jan 2010
When people dive into the varied texts of culture, print and non-print, and explore and critique them, they are doing much more than showing various persuasive appeals or advertising gimmicks to sway their audience; they are examining the purposes and values of capitalism, the economic system that produces a consumerocracy. People might even turn the consumerocracy lens on schooling itself, where literacy is commodified as a "thing" to be "gotten" through the course of one's education and tested to see if its various "components" (comprehension, decoding, vocabulary) have been accrued. Those who "have" the components (the set of skills) are named high-achieving and those who do not are low-achieving. The tests are considered "objective"--so the fault of "not having the skills" rests with the individual who did not work hard enough to get them. Individual children are sorted, schools are sorted, and teachers are held accountable for either giving or not giving students what they need to be successful. The sorting/accountability function helps to construct a culture of competition, the hallmark of a capitalist free market economy. Capitalism depends on competition for consumers' funds. In a competitive culture, products are developed, markets are set up, and the race begins. For capitalism to work, someone must fail so that others can succeed; someone must be below average for someone else to be above average. The identities of individual members are derived from their juxtapositions to other members. In schools the multiple funds of knowledge that each child and teacher brings to the classroom often go unacknowledged. In this article, the authors contend that despite pressures to treat literacy as a commodity, a better version of critical literacy is available to teachers who strive for it.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A