EDL 696A-001Race, Neoliberalism, and Education Neoliberalism on Education and RaceReena Joseph1/19/18 “Thevery design of neoliberal principles is a direct attack on democracy.”-NoamChomskyIntroductionNeoliberalism is a complex subject especiallywhen we think about class, race, gender, and education. The World Was IInegatively affected many countries around the world, neoliberalism took shapeto revive the world economy by supporting free trade, competition amongentrepreneurs and globalization. Neoliberalismis more than an ideology in fact it is a totality which effects all aspects ofpeople’s lives, including the government, policies, economy, global relations,race, class and education. Apart from individual freedom, neoliberalism broughtin some positive changes which includes market innovations, competition, bettervariety of products with cheaper price tag. Neoliberalism enhancedglobalization, for example, consumer traders and entrepreneurs have gainedtremendous power in the global market, such as free trade that eliminatestariffs to benefit free flow of goods from one country to another, to advance theoverall comfort and security of the people. The government provides social safety net forthe poor people that comes from the taxes paid by the wealthy to supportswelfare for all, which includes, unemployment benefits, public healthcare sothat it overall benefits the poor people to not fall below poverty line. Thephilosophy of neoliberalism does not support this practice and reduces tax fromwealthy people.
Neoliberalism, whenviewed through critical theoretical lens, focuses on school choices andcompetition in the education system so that it serves the interests of those inthe upper social stratification. It is essential to note that differentethnicities and race go through different obstacle to educational achievement. So, how does neoliberalism play out when wethink of education and race? The main of discussion in this paper will be on therelationship between race, neoliberalism and education and its influence on raceand education. Our weekly class reading will be examined and quoted to supportthis papers argument. The relationship between Neoliberalism, race and educationThe purpose of education is to educatechildren equally who have goals and aspirations in life to successfully learnand grow as an educated and a critically minded individual and thoughtfulcitizen, they will in turn make the world a better and most importantly a safe placeto live and grow in.
The importance to educate developed after the World WarII, education was considered a public good and everyone was give the right toeducation no matter from which ethnicity, race, class, and gender peoplebelonged to. Chubb & Moe (1988) state”..
….the key differences between public and private environments—andthus between public and private schools—derive from their characteristicmethods of social control: the public schools are subordinates in a hierarchicsystem of democratic politics, whereas private schools are largely autonomousactors “controlled” by the market.” The education system is fractured by neoliberalism creating segregation,division and resistance. Therefore, education has not brought openness, on thecontrary it has increased the gap between rich and poor.
Marketization,competition and for-profit universities are common elements at higher educationlevel.” (Miller, Andrew B, & Whitford,2016.pp.
136). Neoliberalism started toemerge in the early 80’s which gradually effected the school systems throughderegulation, that allowed schools to have more choice through charter schoolsand private schools, eventually this lead to competition and inequality amongstudents. For example, instead of collaboratingand continuing to have equal access to education for all, schools started to competefor resources which eventually lead to segregation of class and race. Likewise,in one of our class reading, Hole, noted “..
.that the neoliberal turnoriginated in the postwar struggles to revitalize a dwindling agricultural andindustrial southern economy and to maintain school segregation after the Brownv. Board of Education.” (Hole 2012).
In addition,the readings from Gloria Ladson-Billings, who talks about separate schools and theimpact of the achievement gap in terms of educational achievements and fundsallocation in schools that effects students who belong to different race,ethnic and socioeconomic background. “The funding disparities thatcurrently exist between schools serving white students and those servingstudents of color are not recent phenomena. Separate schooling always allowsfor differential funding. In present-day dollars, the funding disparitiesbetween urban schools and their suburban counterparts present a telling storyabout the value we place on the education of different groups ofstudents.” (Ladson-Billings, 2006).
Schools also increasing became standardizedin the measurement of student’s ability through the rise of standardizedtesting. Given the school choices, schools favor students who perform well onstandardized admissions tests and who have high grade point averages (GPAs)from secondary school. Furthermore, it negatively effects the bright andcreative students who come from low socio-economic status (SES), since theassessments determine the success level of the student. Furthermore, Au (2011)states that “(B)y reducing students to numbers, standardized testing createsthe capacity to view students as things, as quantities apart from humanqualities” (Au, 2011, p. 37).
Therefor we cansay that it is not the students who get to decide their school choice, but itis the schools that chooses the students. As we discussedin our class readings, Lipman (2011) in her new book The New Political Economyof Urban Education, states “the current push in education reform is moreabout political and economic ideology than about improving schools for thestudents who are least well served by public schools. She mentions “turnarounds” specifically, andprivately-run charters in general are used by mayors and other policy makers togain political points and make new urban neighborhoods “safe” for theupper middle class while further marginalizing low income families -specifically in non-white communities.” (Lipman, 2011). Besides the students the people who are mostaffected are teachers. With the increase in standardization of the curriculum,the teachers have no choice to change the curriculum to make teaching morecreative that meets the students creative and intellectual levels.
Neoliberalism also effects the power to explore new pedagogy. In a schoolsystem the teacher is considered successful or survives if he/she shows anincrease in test score of the students. This form of system mostly effects the children who come to schools tolearn and explore new concepts and subjects are often taught from a uniformcurriculum which leads to competition and lack of creativity, which causesstress in the young minds and lives. The students are powerless they aretrapped in the uniform curriculum, the parents and students just follow what isoffered, they are not challenged which ultimately leads to drop outs in hugenumbers. In the reading from Stitzlein & Smith(2016).
“Teacher turnover produces instability within schools,communities, and teaching workforces. This is especially true of charterschools, which experience higher turnover rates that traditional publicschools” (pp.51). Neoliberalism hasreally destructed and negatively impacted the education system. In the higher education privatization hasbeen on anvil for quite some time now and it is justified by the argument thatit improves the quality of education and improves the efficiency of teachers aswell as students.
This phenomenon is visible with the spread of private highereducation and the way the state managed institutions have transformedthemselves. The private universities are more overtly selling the so-calledskills whereas the state run institutions have privatized the non-teaching spheres and started cost cutting through contractualisation/ casualizationof the teaching labor force. The Universities have become a marketplace in aneoliberal world.As stated by Bonilla-Silva in her article,”Racism is the product of racial domination projects (e.g., colonialism,slavery, labor migration, etc.
), and once this form of social organizationemerged in human history, it became embedded in societies.” (Bonilla-Silva, 2001; Robinson, 2000). Fromone of our class readings, Brown & Delissovoy (2011)quotes Bonilla-Silva’s argument which suggests that “race and racism are bothsystemic and institutional, as opposed to be an outcome of other forms ofoppression (such as that based on class) or an overt and irrational act ofracist practices.” Bonilla-Silva (2006) “…the wayracism is structural and systemic in all racialized social systems theplacement of people in racial categories involves some form of hierarchy thatproduces definite social relations between the races. The race placed in thesuperior position tends to receive greater economic remuneration and access tobetter occupations and/or prospects in the labor market, occupies a primaryposition in the political system…” (469–470). It is crucial for the economy’s growth andprogress that the children from different background, color and ethnicityshould be educated to represent confidently a skilled workforce globally. The universities have become money mintingbusinesses and the student are commodities.
The education system is no longerseen as a social good with essential values and ethics, this practice has negativelyaffected human race, especially poor children and women. Because they belong todifferent social and cultural background and especially who are not privileged.To further draw from our weekly readings, Lipman in her book states that “tobring education, along with other public sectors, in line with the goals ofcapital accumulation and managerial governance and administration” (Lipman, 2011, p. 14). The politics and neoliberalideology of the current education climate in the United States, which is morefocused on political and money-making ideologies than focusing on fixing thebroken education system or catering to the poor children, especially African Americanaand Latino/a who are not well served in the society when it comes to theirintellectual curiosity and development. ConclusionKolderie, Ted has suggested, “that the basic issue is nothow to improve the educational system; it is how to develop a system that seeksimprovement.” (Liberman, M, 1998).
Equalopportunity should be given to African American, Latino to share decision-makingpower in terms of policies, regarding what policy is good for them and for theeconomy. If every citizen of the United States has the same constitutionalrights, then there shouldn’t be a racial issue in the justice system. Thejustice system needs to stop seeing all black individuals as “criminals”, andthe education system needs to offer equal educational opportunities to allpublic schools. To truly practice social justice, it is important that every studentand teacher should be respected and treated equally. Every student isdifferent, they should be valued than treating them as commodities. Tremendous amount of additional research workand awareness is needed in the education system to create significant andmeaningful reforms.
Why do we still have to continue to fight for social justice,political and cultural equality? Will there be a change, why are people becomingmore selfish and don’t think about the welfare of today’s children, will the worldbe a better place tomorrow for today’s children? Schools should always aim forcontinuous improvement, so they can provide the best quality and equaleducation to all kinds of students and an overall better educational outcomecan be achieved that can change the values of the education system. ReferenceAu, W. (2011).
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