Challenging the Assault on Teachers, Students, and Public Education – Second edition
5. Dumbing Down Teachers: Attacking Colleges of Education in the Name of Reform
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5. Dumbing Down Teachers
Attacking Colleges of Education in the Name of Reform
As the Obama administration’s educational reform movement increasingly adopts the interests and values of a “free market” culture, many students graduate from public schooling and higher education with an impoverished political imagination, unable to recognize injustice and unfairness. As I have emphasized throughout this book, they often find themselves invested in a notion of unattached individualism that severs them from any sense of moral and social responsibility to others or to a larger notion of the common good. Moreover, they quickly learn that schools should be seen less as a public good than as a private right. At the same time, those students who jeopardize their achievement in terms of the quantifiable measures and instrumental values now used to define school success are often either exposed to harsh disciplinary procedures, driven out of schools, subjected to medical interventions, or, even worse, pushed into the criminal justice system.1 Most of these students are poor whites and minorities of color and, increasingly, students with special needs.
To be sure, the empirical emphasis of conservative school policy has been in place for decades. In keeping with this trend, the Obama administration’s educational policy under the leadership of Arne Duncan lacks a democratic vision or sense of moral direction. Consequently, it reproduces rather than diminishes many of these problems. In addition, these policies bear the trace of the ideological remnants of a...
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