12. Zero Tolerance Policies and the Death of Reason: Schools and the Pedagogy of Punishment
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Zero Tolerance Policies and the Death of Reason
SCHOLS AND THE PEDAGOGY OF PUNISHMENT
The shift to a society now governed through crime,1 market-driven values, and the politics of disposability has radically transformed the public school as a site for a civic and critical education. One major effect can be seen in the increasingly popular practice of organizing schools through disciplinary practices that closely resemble the culture of the prisons.2 For instance, many public schools, traditionally viewed as nurturing, youth-friendly spaces dedicated to protecting and educating children, have become one of the most punitive institutions many young people now face on a daily basis. Educating for citizenship, work, and the public good has been replaced with models of schooling in which students, especially poor minority youth, are viewed either as a threat or as perpetrators of violence. When not viewed as potential criminals, they are positioned as infantilized potential victims of crime (on the Internet, at school, and in other youth spheres) who must endure modes of governing that are demeaning and repressive. Jonathan Simon captures this transformation of schools from a public good to a security risk in the following comment:
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