Tag Archives: neoliberalism

CFP: An International Examination of Teacher Education: Exposing and Resisting the Neoliberal Agenda

The Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies
Special Issue: Spring 2012
An International Examination of Teacher Education: Exposing and Resisting the Neoliberal Agenda

Chief Editor: Professor Dave Hill, Chief/Managing Editor and Founding Editor, Professor Dave Hill, Professor Peter L. McLaren Editor, North America, Professor Pablo Gentili Editor, Latin America

Guest Editors: Dr. Brad Porfilio, Lewis University & Dr. Julie Gorlewski, SUNY at New Paltz

In recent decades, the transnational capitalist class has wielded power and influence to gain control over elements of social life that were once considered vital domains to fostering the social welfare of global citizens. Affected public domains include natural resources, health care, prisons, transportation, post-catastrophe restoration, and education. The chief linchpin in the elite’s corporatization over social affairs is its effective propaganda campaign to inculcate the global community to believe that neoliberal capitalism ameliorates rather than devastates humanity. According to political pundits, free-market academics, and corporate leaders, economic prosperity and improvements in the social world emanate from “unregulated or free markets, the withering away of the state as government’s role in regulating businesses and funding social services are either eliminated or privatized, and encouraging individuals to become self-interested entrepreneurs” (Hursh, 2011). Since neoliberalism is a term rarely uttered is most dominant (mainstream) media outlets, most citizens are not cognizant of how it is linked to many deleterious economic and social developments at today’s historical juncture, such as massive unemployment, the swelling of home foreclosures, homelessness, militarism, school closings, maldistribution of wealth, and environmental degradation (Hill, 2008; Hursh, 2011; McLaren, 2007; Ross & Gibson, 2007; Scipes, 2009). Equally important, many global citizens fail to recognize how the transitional elite have spawned a McCarthy-like witch hunt to eliminate academics, policies, and programs that have the potential to engage citizens in a critical examination of what is responsible for today’s increasingly stark social world – as well as what steps are necessary to radically transform it.

In this special issue of The Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies, we call on progressive scholars from across the globe to provide empirical research, conceptual analysis, and theoretical insights in relation to how corporate policies, practices, and imperatives are structuring life in schools of education. Since the impact of neoliberal capitalism on programs, policies, relationships, and pedagogies in schools of education is not uniform, as local histories and politics structure how macro-forces come to impact people in local contexts (Gruenwell (2003), the issue will be integral in understanding and confronting the social actors and constitute forces gutting the humanizing nature of education. Additionally, we call on critical scholars and pedagogues who have found emancipatory fissures amid corporatized schools of education to share policies, pedagogies, and cultural work that have the potency promote critical forms of education, democratic relationships, and peace, equity and social justice across the globe.

Manuscripts are due by December 1, 2011 and should be submitted as email attachments to porfilio16@aol.com and gorlewsj@newpaltz.edu.

Papers submitted for publication should be between 5,000 and 8000 words long. While we would hope that papers would be submitted in accordance with the Harvard Referencing Style, we do accept those written in any commonly accepted academic style, as long as the style is consistent throughout the paper.

Please direct all inquires about this special issue to the guest editors at Porfilio16@aol.com and gorlewsj@newpaltz.edu.

Greek universities in danger

To the international academic community

Greek Universities in Danger

In the last few years, a wave of ‘reforms’ within the European Union and throughout the world has subjected Higher Education to the logic of the market. Higher Education has increasingly been transformed from a public good and a civil right to a commodity for the wealthy. The self-government of Universities and the autonomy of academic processes are also being eroded. The processes of knowledge production and acquisition, as well as the working conditions of the academic community, are now governed by the principles of the private sector, from which Universities are obliged to seek funds.

Greece is possibly the only European Union country where attempts to implement these ‘reforms’ have so far failed. Important factors in this failure are the intense opposition of Greek society as well as the Greek Constitution, according to which Higher Education is provided exclusively by public, fully self-governed and state-funded institutions.

According to the existing institutional framework for the functioning of Universities, itself the result of academic and student struggles before and after the military dictatorship (1967-1974), universities govern themselves through bodies elected by the academic community. Although this institutional framework has contributed enormously to the development of Higher Education in Greece, insufficient funding and suffocating state control, as well as certain unlawful and unprofessional practices by the academic community, have rendered Higher Education reform necessary.

The current government has now hastily attempted a radical reform of Higher Education. On the pretext of the improvement of the ‘quality of education’ and its harmonization with ‘international academic standards’, the government is promoting the principles of ‘reciprocity’ in Higher Education. At the same time, it is drastically decreasing public funding for education (up to 50% decrease) which is already amongst the lowest in the European Union. New appointments of teaching staff will follow a ratio 1:10 to the retirement of existing staff members. This will have devastating results in the academic teaching process as well as in the progress of scientific knowledge.

The government proposals seek to bypass the constitutional obligations of the state towards public Universities and abolish their academic character.

The self-government of Universities will be circumvented, with the current elected governing bodies replaced by appointed ‘Councils’ who will not be accountable to the academic community.
The future of Universities located on the periphery, as well as of University departments dedicated to ‘non-commercial’ scientific fields, looks gloomy.

Academic staff will no longer be regarded as public functionaries. The existing national payscale is to be abolished and replaced by individualized, ‘productivity’ related payscales, while insecure employment is to become the norm for lower rank employees.

Higher Education will be transformed into ‘training’ and, along with research, gradually submitted to market forces.
The government proposals have been rejected by the Greek academic community. The Council of Vice-Chancellors and the Senates of almost all Universities have publicly called the government to withdraw the proposals and have suggested alternative proposals which can more effectively deal with the problems of Greek Universities. Despite this, the government proceeds with promoting its proposals, in confrontation with the entire academic community.

We appeal to our colleagues from the international academic community, who have experienced the consequences of similar reforms, to support us in our struggle to defend education as a public good. We fight, together with our British, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and other colleagues, for the respect of the academic tradition of the European universitas in current conditions.

We ask you to send electronically the appeal below, signed with your name and indicating your academic status and institutional affiliation, to the Initiative of Greek Academics (europeanuniversitas1@gmail.com). The support of the international academic community will prove invaluable for the upcoming developments not only in Greek Universities but in respect to European Higher Education as a whole.

Initiative of Greek academics

To: europeanuniversitas1@gmail.com

Subject: Defending Higher Education in Greece

Defending Higher Education in Greece

We, the undersigned, express our support for Greek academics who oppose the Higher Education reform proposed by the government, which hinders the research and teaching potential of Greek Universities.

Any process aiming to improve the institutional frame of Higher Education has to decisively take into account the positions of the academic community. We understand that the vast majority of the Senates of Greek Universities, the Council of Vice-Chancellors of Greek Universities, as well as the local organisations of University teachers have publicly expressed their opposition to government proposals.

We ask the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Giorgos Papandreou, and the Minister of Education, Life-Long Learning and Religions, Ms. Anna Diamantopoulou

(a) not to proceed with voting the law, as the direction it has taken has proven devastating for Higher Education wherever it was implemented

(b) to start a real dialogue with the Senates of Universities aiming towards an institutional frame that will safeguard the constitutionally protected self-government of Universities and the public funding of Higher Education, and will respect the principles of European academic traditions regarding the public functioning of Universities.

http://supportgreekacademia.wordpress.com

New book: The Phenomenon of Obama and the Agenda for Education Can Hope Audaciously Trump Neoliberalism?

The Phenomenon of Obama and the Agenda for Education
Can Hope Audaciously Trump Neoliberalism?

Edited by Paul R. Carr, Lakehead University
Bradley Porfilio, Lewis University in Romeoville, IL

A volume in the series: Critical Constructions: Studies on Education and Society. Series Editor: Curry Stephenson Malott, West Chester University

Published 2011

Who should read this book? Anyone who is touched by public education – teachers, administrators, teacher-educators, students, parents, politicians, pundits, and citizens – ought to read this book. It will speak to educators, policymakers and citizens who are concerned about the future of education and its relation to a robust, participatory democracy. The perspectives offered by a wonderfully diverse collection of contributors provide a glimpse into the complex, multilayered factors that shape, and are shaped by, institutions of schooling today. The analyses presented in this text are critical of how globalization and neoliberalism exert increasing levels of control over the public institutions meant to support the common good. Readers of this book will be well prepared to participate in the dialogue that will influence the future of public education in this nation – a dialogue that must seek the kind of change that represents hope for all students.

As for the question contained in the title of the book–Can hope audaciously trump neoliberalism?–, Carr and Porfilio develop a framework that integrates the work of the contributors, including Christine Sleeter and Dennis Carlson, who wrote the forward and afterword respectively, that problematizes how the Obama administration has presented an extremely constrained, conservative notion of change in and through education. The rhetoric has not been matched by meaningful, tangible, transformative proposals, policies and programs aimed at transformative change. There are many reasons for this, and, according to the contributors to this book, it is clear that neoliberalism is a major obstacle to stimulating the hope that so many have been hoping for. Addressing systemic inequities embedded within neoliberalism, Carr and Porfilio argue, is key to achieving the hope so brilliantly presented by Obama during the campaign that brought him to the presidency.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgements. Foreword: Challenging the Empire’s Agenda for Education, Christine E. Sleeter. SECTION I: USING HISTORICAL AND THEORETICAL INSIGHTS TO UNDERSTAND OBAMA’S EDUCATIONAL AGENDA. More of the Same: How Free Market-Capitalism Dominates the Economy and Education, David Hursh. Concocting Crises to Create Consent: The Importance of “The Shock Doctrine” to Understanding Current Educational Policy, Virginia Lea. Educational Hope Ignored Under Obama: The Persistent Failure of Crisis Discourse and Utopian Expectations, P. L. Thomas. Competing Definitions of Hope in Obama’s Education Marketplace: Media Representations of School Reform, Equality, and Social Justice, Rebecca A. Goldstein, Sheila Macrine, Nataly Z. Chesky, and Alexandra Perry. SECTION II: THE PERILS OF NEOLIBERAL SCHOOLING: CRITIQUING CORPORATIZED FORMS OF SCHOOLING AND A SOBER ASSESSMENT OF WHERE OBAMA IS TAKING US. Charting a New Course for Public Education Through Charter Schools: Where is Obama Taking Us? Mary Christianakis and Richard Mora. Manufactured Consent: Latino/a Themed Charter Schools, in Whose Interests? Theresa Montaño and Lynne Aoki. Whose Schools are These Anyway—American Dream or Nightmare? Countering the Corporate Takeover of Schools in California, Roberta Ahlquist. Obama, Escucha! Estamos en la Lucha! Challenging Neoliberalism in Los Angeles Schools, Theresa Montaño. Standardized Teacher Performance Assessment: Obama/Duncan’s Quick Fix for What They Think it is That Ails Us, Ann Berlak. The Political Economy of Educational Restructuring: On the Origin of Performance Pay and Obama’s “Blueprint” for Education, Mark Garrison. SECTION III: ENVISIONING NEW SCHOOLS AND A NEW SOCIAL WORLD: STORIES OF RESISTENCE, HOPE, AND TRANSFORMATION. The Education Agenda is a War Agenda: Connecting Reason to Power and Power to Resistance, Rich Gibson and E. Wayne Ross. Connecting Communities and Schools: Accountability in the Post-NCLB Era, Tina Wagle and Paul Theobald. If There is Anyone Out There, Peter McLaren. Afterword: Working the Contradictions: The Obama Administration’s Educational Policy, and Democracy Will Come, Dennis Carlson. Biographies.

Videos on terrible impact of Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Message from Gilbert Gonzalez for the Mingas Network

Dear friends: Thank you once again for your patience, support, and
solidarity in our struggle against the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

The next few days and weeks will be crucial in this struggle as President
Obama has indicated he will submit the Colombia, Panama and Korea FTAs for
congressional approval after the upcoming congressional recess.

Below we have included a number of informative videos on the impact of the
FTA on Colombia. Please look at them and, if you have time, share them
with others and send them to your friends, lists, etc.

Video of Impact upon Colombian workers and small farmers

Video of Impact upon Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities

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Video of Impact on Colombian Civil Society

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An over-all view of the impact of the FTA: What will you do if the
Colombia Free Trade Agreement is passed?

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On the Colombia FTA, and others like it, California’s Congressman Miller
has said: “The American worker can compete, but it can’t compete against
the Colombian Army, against Colombian death squads… that’s not fair
competition, but that is what it’s protected in these trade agreements.”

The House of Representatives recess will take place from June 24th to July
5th. As you share this material with friends and list members please ask
them to contact their representatives by letter, fax, email, phone, or by
personal appointment, asking them to vote against this horrible
NAFTA-clone of a treaty.

If they don’t know who their representatives are they can find out by
going to:

http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

The Mingas Network will be glad to provide you with more information about
the specific impacts of the Colombia FTA and the reason the proposed White
House “Action Plan” does not right all that is wrong with the treaty. Just
send us a message.

Thank you again for your support, and your patience.

Sincerely yours,

Gilbert Gonzalez

for The Mingas Network*

The Mingas Network is a group of individuals from across the United
States, Canada and Colombia who are concerned with improving labor
conditions, promoting sovereignty and strengthening democracy and in
Colombia. We are united in our support for social movements and our
rejection of all acts of violence in Colombia, regardless of their source.

Critical Education article examines Obama education agenda

In the latest issue of Critical Education, Brad J. Porfilio and Paul L. Carr analyze the Obama education agenda as a manifestation of the dominance of neoliberal ideology.

Critical Education
Vol 2, No 3 (2011)
Table of Contents
Audaciously Espousing Hope within a Torrent of Hegemonic Neoliberalism
Brad J. Porfilio, Paul L. Carr

Abstract

It has been over eighteen months since Barack Obama defeated John McCain in the US presidential election. Since this period of time, the Obama administration has implemented, proposed, and supported a spate of educational reform measures, including increasing the length of the school year, tying school funding to K-12 students’ performance on high-stakes examinations, firing teachers, gutting teacher unions and closing schools, opening charter schools, and tying teachers’ evaluations to students’ performance on standardized examinations. Despite the Obama administration’s active involvement in shaping educational circles, there has been a dearth of critical analysis in relation to Obama’s leadership and his educational agenda. In this essay, we illustrate how the Obama administration’s educational vision is a manifestation of the dominance of neoliberal ideology over most elements of social life for the past 30 years. We believe our critical analysis of US political leaders’ and their constituents’ support of the corporate takeover of US schools gives those interested in education the power to strive for democratic and transformative experiences for all students.

Update to issue 17 of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

The current issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor has been updated with two new field reports.

Issue No. 17 of Workplace “Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions” is guest edited by Howard Stevenson of Lincoln University (UK).

The new field reports include:

The NEA Representative Assembly of 2010: A Longer View of Crisis and Consciousness
Rich Gibson

Abstract
Following the 2009 National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly (RA) in San Diego, new NEA president Dennis Van Roekel was hugging Arne Duncan, fawning over new President Obama, and hustling the slogan, “Hope Starts Here!” At the very close of the 2009 RA, delegates were treated to a video of themselves chanting, “Hope starts Here!” and “Hope Starts with Obama and Duncan!” The NEA poured untold millions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours, into the Obama campaign. In 2009, Van Roekel promised to tighten NEA-Obama ties, despite the President’s educational policies and investment in war. What happened in the year’s interim? What was the social context of the 2010 RA?

Resisting the Common-nonsense of Neoliberalism: A Report from British Columbia
E. Wayne Ross

Abstract
Faced with a $16 million budget shortfall, the Vancouver school trustees, who have a mandate to meet the needs of their students, have lobbied for more provincial funding to avoid draconian service cuts. The government has refused the request, and its special advisor to the Vancouver School Board criticizes trustees for engaging in “advocacy” rather than making “cost containment” first priority. The clash between Vancouver trustees and the ministry of education is not “just politics.” Rather, education policy in BC reflects the key features of neoliberal globalization, not the least of which is the principle that more and more of our collective wealth is devoted to maximizing private profits rather than serving public needs. British Columbia is home to one of the most politically successful neoliberal governments in the world, but fortunately it is also a place to look for models of mass resistance to the neoliberal agenda. One of the most important examples of resistance to the common-nonsense of neoliberalism in the past decade is the British Columbia teachers’ 2005 strike, which united student, parent, and educator interests in resisting the neoliberal onslaught on education in the public interest.

France on strike

France on Strike

Weeks of strikes, protests and demonstrations have brought much of France to a standstill as workers, students and others voice their strong opposition to a government proposal to raise the age for a minimum pension from 60 to 62. A quarter of the nation’s gas stations were out of fuel, hundreds of flights were canceled, long lines formed at gas stations and train services in many regions were cut in half. Protesters blockaded Marseille’s airport, Lady Gaga canceled concerts in Paris and rioting youths attacked police in Lyon. The unpopular bill is edging closer to becoming law as the French Senate is preparing to vote on it today. Collected here are recent images of the unrest around France. Update: Pension reform bill just now passed by French senate. (40 photos total)


A man holds a placard which reads “Listen to the public’s rage” during a demonstration in front of the French Senate in Paris October 20, 2010. French trade unions kept up their resistance on Wednesday to an unpopular pension reform due for a final vote in the Senate this week. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

View more photos here.

Workplace No 17 (2010): Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions

Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor No 17 (2010):
Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions

Table of Contents
http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/issue/view/8

Articles
——–
Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions: Special Issue Introduction
Howard Stevenson

Terminating the Teaching Profession: Neoliberal Reform, Resistance and the Assault on Teachers in Chile
Jill Pinkney Pastrana

Social Justice Teacher Unionism in a Canadian Context: Linking Local and Global efforts
Cindy Rottmann

Australian Education Unionism in the Age of Neoliberalism: Education as a Public Good, Not a Private Benefit
Jeff Garsed, John Williamson

“What’s Best for Kids” vs. Teacher Unions: How Teach For America Blames Teacher Unions for the Problems of Urban Schools
Heidi Katherine Pitzer

Gramsci, Embryonic Organic Intellectuals, and Scottish Teacher Learning Representatives: Alternatives to Neoliberal Approaches to Professional Development in the K-12 Sector
Alex Alexandrou

Pedagogy of Liminality? The Case of Turkish Teachers’ Union Egitim-Sen
Duygun Gokturk

Book Reviews
——–
Review of Industrial Relations in Education: Transforming the School Workforce
Merryn Hutchings

A Portrait of Authenticity: A Review of Carl Mirra’s (2010) The AdmirableRadical: Staughton Lynd and Cold War Dissent, 1945-1970. Kent, OH: Kent University Press
Adam Renner

Review of Union Learning Representatives: Challenges and Opportunities
Becky Wright

Review of How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation
Marisa Huerta

Review of Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic-Industrial Complex
Leah Schweitzer

The Sociopathology of Everyday Business: A Review of The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace
Jim Rovira

Review of The Rich World and the Impoverishment of Education: Diminishing Democracy, Equity and Workers’ Rights
Paul Orlowski

Technology and (Human) Rights: A Review of Human Rights in the Global Information Society
Stephen Petrina

Review of The Developing World and State Education: Neoliberal Depredation and Egalitarian Alternatives
Steven L. Strauss

Miscellany
——–
Connecting Teacher Unions and Teacher Union Research
AERA Teachers’ Work/Teacher Unions SIG