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Education and the Crisis of Public Values

Challenging the Assault on Teachers, Students, and Public Education – Second edition


Henry A. Giroux

Updated with both a new introduction and a series of interviews, the second edition of Education and the Crisis of Public Values examines American society’s shift away from democratic public values, the ensuing move toward a market-driven mode of education, and the last decade’s growing social disinvestment in youth. The book discusses the number of ways that the ideal of public education as a democratic public sphere has been under siege, including full-fledged attacks by corporate interests on public school teachers, schools of education, and teacher unions. It also reveals how a business culture cloaked in the guise of generosity and reform has supported a charter school movement that aims to dismantle public schools in favor of a corporate-friendly privatized system. The book encourages educators to become public intellectuals, willing to engage in creating a formative culture of learning that can nurture the ability to defend public and higher education as a general good – one crucial to sustaining a critical citizenry and a democratic society.
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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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