Challenging the Assault on Teachers, Students, and Public Education – Second edition
6. Business Culture and the Death of Public Education: Mayor Bloomberg, David Steiner, and the Politics of Corporate “Leadership”
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6. Business Culture and the Death of Public Education
Mayor Bloomberg, David Steiner, and the Politics of Corporate “Leadership”
Politicians, anti-public intellectuals, and conservative-leaning media pundits no longer ask what kind of education is needed in a democratic society. Nor do they value the importance of educating teachers and students to think critically, engage in meaningful dialogue, and function as producers of knowledge rather than as objects of its transmission. Curiously, given the disastrous state of the economy since its 2008 meltdown, the leadership driving the new reform movement in education is comprised of hedge fund managers, multimillionaires, Ivy League apparatchiks, and corporate executives. For them, education is largely about “applying business strategies and discipline to public schools.”1 Education has become the new frontier for the investment dollar and very likely the next big bubble to burst. But what do the proposed reforms mean for education on the ground, so to speak, in classrooms across the nation? Educational theory once provided the philosophical principles that guided a vision of what it means to be a fully functional, educated citizen as well as a vision of the kind of society educated men and women should aspire to build. But educational theory has now been stripped of its critical and emancipatory possibilities. In this latest demand for educational accountability and innovation, pedagogy has been reduced to a managerial and disciplinary process largely driven by market values, a crude empiricism, and the ideology of casino...
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