EDL696ARace, Neoliberalism,and Education Neoliberalism on Education and Race1/19/18 “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. After the WWII neoliberalismcame into being to revive the world economy (that was destroyed during theWWII), by introducing free market, globalization and competition. Neoliberalism is in fact a totality whicheffects all aspects of people’s lives, including the government, policies,economy, global relations, race, class and education.
In addition to personalliberty, it brought in some positive ideas which includes market innovations,competition, better variety of products with cheaper price tag. Neoliberalismenhanced globalization, for example, consumer traders and entrepreneurs havegained tremendous power in the global market, such as free trade thateliminates tariffs to increase free flow of goods from one country to another,and to advance the overall 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. However,the philosophy of neoliberalism does not encourage this idea and reduces taxfrom wealthy 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 attainment. Does neoliberalism play out and how, when we considereducation and race? The main 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, schooling was freely available for everyone. The right to education for allethnicity, race, class, and gender and culture. Chubb& Moe state “…..
.the key differences between public and privateenvironments—and thus 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.” (Chubb & Moe, 1988, pp. 1064). “The education system is fractured byneoliberalism creating segregation, division and resistance.
Therefore,education has not brought openness, on the contrary it has increased the gapbetween rich and poor. Marketization, competition and for-profit universitiesare common elements at higher education level.” (Miller, Andrew B, & Whitford, 2016. pp. 136).
Neoliberalism started to emerge in the early80’s which gradually effected the school systems through deregulation, thatallowed schools to have more choice through charter schools and privateschools, eventually this lead to competition and inequality among students andthe schools. 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 andthe impact of the achievement gap in terms of educational achievements andfunds allocation 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 means differentialand unequal funding disparities. The present-day funding disparities betweenurban schools and their suburban counterparts present a telling story about thevalue we place on the education of different groups of students.” (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 “By reducing students to numbers, standardized testing creates thecapacity to view students as things, as quantities apart from humanqualities” (Au, 2011, p. 37).
Therefor it isnot the students who gets to decide their school choice, but it is the schoolsthat chooses the students. As we discussed in our class readings, Lipman (2011) in her new bookThe New Political Economy of Urban Education, states “the current push ineducation reform is more about political and economic ideology than aboutimproving schools for the students 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 the teachers. With the rise in standardization of the curriculum,the schools have no choice to review and revive the curriculum to make teachingmore creative that meets the students creative and intellectual levels.Neoliberalism also effects the power to explore new pedagogy. In a school systemthe teacher is considered successful or survives if he/she shows an increase intest score of the students.
This form ofsystem mostly effects the children who come to schools to learn and explore newconcepts and subjects, are often taught from a uniform curriculum which leadsto competition and lack of creativity, which causes stress in the young mindsand lives. The children are powerless as they are trapped in the fixedcurriculum, the parents and students just follow what is offered, they are notchallenged which ultimately leads to drop outs in huge numbers. In the readingfrom Stitzlein & Smith (2016). “Teacherturnover produces instability within schools, communities, and teachingworkforces. This is especially true of charter schools, which experience higherturnover rates than traditional public schools” (pp.
51). Neoliberalism has really destructed andnegatively affected the schooling system. In the higher education privatization has beenon anvil for quite some time now and it is justified by the argument that itimproves 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 transformed themselves.The private universities are more overtly selling the so-called skills whereasthe state run institutions have privatized the non-teaching spheres and started cost cutting throughcontractualisation/ casualization of the teaching labor force.
The Universitieshave become a marketplace in a neoliberal world. As stated by Bonilla-Silva, (2001) in herarticle, “Racism is the product of racial domination projects (e.g.,colonialism, slavery, labor migration, etc.), and once this form of socialorganization is emerged in human history, it became embedded insocieties.” (Robinson, 2000). Inaddition, Brown & Delissovoy (2011) quotesBonilla-Silva’s statement 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 theeconomy’s growth and progress that the children from different background,color and ethnicity should be educated to represent confidently a skilledworkforce globally. The universitieshave become money minting businesses and the student are commodities. Theeducation system is no longer seen as a social good with essential values andethics, this practice has negatively affected human race, especially poorchildren and women. Because they belong to different social and culturalbackground and especially who are not privileged. To further draw from ourweekly readings, Lipman in her book states that “to bring education, along withother public sectors, in line with the goals of capital accumulation andmanagerial governance and administration” (Lipman,2011, p. 14). The politics and neoliberal ideology ofthe current education climate in the United States, which is more focused on politicaland money-making ideologies than focusing on fixing the broken education systemor catering to the poor children, especially African Americana and Latino/a whoare not well served in the society when it comes to their intellectualcuriosity and development.
ConclusionKolderie, Ted suggests, “that the basic issue is not how toimprove the educational system; it is how to develop a system that seeksimprovement.” (Liberman, M, 1998). Equalopportunity should be given to teachers and parents, to share decision-makingpower in terms of policies, to decide the policies that can be good for themand the students. If every citizen of the United States has the sameconstitutional rights, that there shouldn’t be a racial issue in the justicesystem. The justice system needs to stop seeing all black individuals as”criminals”, and the education system needs to offer equal educationalopportunities to all public schools. To truly practicesocial justice, it is important that every student and teacher should berespected and treated equally. Every student is different, they should bevalued than treating them as commodities.
As stated by Stitzlein & Smith (2016), “To maintain a truecommitment to social justice, we must ensure that our founding philosophies andpractices resist alienation, objectification and commodification.” (Stitzlein& Smith, 2016). Tremendous amount of additionalresearch work and awareness is needed in the education system to createsignificant and meaningful reforms. Why do we still have to continue to fightfor social justice, political and cultural equality? Will there be a change,why are people becoming more selfish and don’t think about the welfare oftoday’s children, will the world be a better place tomorrow for today’schildren? Schools should always aim for continuous improvement, so they canprovide the best quality and equal education to all kinds of students and anoverall better educational outcome can be achieved that can change the valuesof the education system. ReferenceAu, W. (2011). Teachingunder the new Taylorism: high-stakes testing and the standardization of the21st century curriculum.
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