The Quest for the Public Intellectual, Identity and Service
Edited By Karen Ragoonaden
Chapter Three: Ideology, Performativity, and the University
← 32 | 33 → CHAPTER THREE
Ideology, Performativity, and the University
Within contemporary discourses, the concept of neoliberalism is an ideology that influences working conditions in a number of institutions like Faculties of Education through policy, budgets, employment terms, and institutional aims. Emerging from business, neoliberalism is grounded in economic rationalism. It aims to maximize business profits through control of employee and industrial productivity using performance, sales, or production targets. This neoliberal rhetoric values market-driven actions, consumer satisfaction and choice, and economic profit, and it applies business practices to the regulation of other social institutions. In schools, its techniques include accountability, choice, standardized testing, and public rankings.
A number of writers including Ball (1999, 2003, 2006) and Apple (2006) describe these as having negative results on teachers and students in both the UK and the United States. Apple states, for example, that rather than focusing on student learning, schools aim to improve their school’s ranking by attempting to attract “good” students and directing resources away from special-needs students. Teachers teach to standardized, fact-based tests and do not focus on developing important abilities such as critical thinking, which are not considered in their performative assessment criteria. Creative and innovative teaching practice decline as these are also not assessed. Further, as students have varying amounts of capital with which to negotiate the system and parents with more social, economic, and ← 33 | 34 → cultural capital can move their children at will within the system, inequalities...
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