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Call for Submissions: Teachers’ Work in Contentious Political Times — Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

Call for Submissions: Teachers’ Work in Contentious Political TimesWorkplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

Deadline for Full-length Submissions: September 30, 2024

Submission Types: Empirical and theoretical papers; interviews; practitioner field reports, or experiential narratives

Review Process: All submissions will be double-blind peer reviewed.

Guest Editors: Denisha Jones (Defending the Early Years), Brianne Kramer (Southern Utah University), Dana Morrison (West Chester University), Erin Dyke (Oklahoma State University), and Lauren Ware Stark (Université de Sherbrooke)

Philosophical Overview/Perspective 

While educators have found themselves in a politically contentious profession since the advent of compulsory schooling (Goldstein, 2015), since 2020, they have been caught in a constant onslaught of anti-teacher and anti-education rhetoric, policy, and governance. Guided by the blueprint developed from of decades neoliberal reforms which sought to erode the public good via privatization, standardization, and austerity, Covid-era policy responses imagined new ways to silence, demonize, and discredit educators, attempting to keep them out of critical decision-making as they attended to students’ changing needs during shifting realities (Grooms & Childs, 2021; Hodges et al., 2020). During this time, educators were made to answer for the “crime” of wanting to adhere to scientifically backed safety protocols that would protect the most vulnerable by stemming the spread of the deadly virus. This oftentimes meant keeping school buildings closed until districts could meaningfully uphold CDC protocols (Hoffman et al, 2021; Zhang et al., 2022). 

In many locations throughout the U.S., forced reopenings, expiring financial supports, and politicization of Covid-safety measures were the backdrop for conservative-backed parents’ groups taking over school board meetings, picketing outside schools, and harassing school employees at all levels, demanding a return to in-person learning or the ceasing of safety protocols such as mask-wearing, vaccine mandates, and social distancing (Borter et al., 2022; Cunningham, 2023; Nossel, 2022; Williams, 2022). Recognizing the success of these campaigns in several states and against the backdrop of a nation-wide resurgence in teachers’ labor militancy just prior to the pandemic, rightist political networks and organizations like Moms For Liberty (M4L) and Parents Defending Education (PDE) furthered their Koch- and Walton Family-funded agenda to undermine public education. They manufactured a false narrative that teachers were teaching critical race theory (CRT), making spurious claims about socio-emotional learning, and working to ban books that primarily focused on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ characters and issues (Anderson-Nathe, 2020; Asbury & Kim, 2020; Hartney & Finger, 2020; Morgan, 2022). Since 2020, there has been legislation of this kind put forth in nearly every state in the U.S., with many passing laws rooted in these inaccurate and careless claims that censor and punish educators for their work (Collie, 2021; Sachs, 2022). In many places, legislators have also targeted diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, programs, and offices in higher education institutions for dissolution (Cuevas, 2022). Students, staff, and faculty in K12 and higher education have experienced repression for speaking out against censorship and genocide (Hernandez et al., 2024). Yes, the teaching profession was in jeopardy prior to 2020, but now many scholars fear the teaching shortage will continue to worsen. 

In the face of reactionary movements and ongoing structural inequalities in education, educators have contributed to a range of struggles to defend public education and counter systems of oppression in schools. These include movements for safety in the Covid-19 pandemic (Maton, 2022; Stark et al., 2024), movements defending the freedom to learn and teach (Giroux, 2024), movements affirming BIPOC (Au, 2021; Curchin et al., 2024; Jones & Hagopian, 2020; Morrison & Porter-Webb, 2019; Ramos & Jani, 2024) and LGBTQIA+ (Shelton et al., 2019) students, and movements for social justice and solidarity unionisms (Charney, Hagopian, & Peterson, 2021; Dyke & Muckian Bates, 2023; Kramer, 2024; Stark, 2023). These movements are both as important and as contested as ever, as educators and the broader public face the threats of rising fascism and, with it, attacks on marginalized communities and those who teach or organize for justice. 

Leadership of the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Teachers’ Work/Teacher Unions SIG is seeking submissions for a special issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor. The special issue theme “Teachers’ Work in Contentious Political Times” seeks manuscripts focusing on teachers’ work in P-16 education, teacher unions, or community organizing. In this special issue, we seek empirical and theoretical papers, interviews (with current or retired practitioners, teachers who have left the profession, those in teachers unions, and those in grassroots organizations dedicated to equitable public education) that take a critical approach to the current issues educators are facing. 

Critical research seeks to disrupt and expose the status quo and elevate the voices of marginalized and oppressed people through the research process. We are interested in manuscripts that analyze and conceptualize teachers’ work in these current heightened political times. Below are a few suggested topics to include in this volume, but it is by no means exhaustive. 

  • Educator (birth to 25) response to anti-CRT and LGBTQ+ legislation
  • Educator organizing through unions and caucuses to resist attacks 
  • Grassroots community organizing with educators, parents, students, and activists 
  • Critical policy and discourse analysis 
  • Anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and decolonial approaches to teaching and learning enacted as resistance 
  • Activist research projects
  • Topics that historicize and contextualize contemporary policy movements and/or organized resistance
  • Educator narratives of political and curricular censorship and/or resistance to censorship
  • Critical policy network analyses that makes relations of power shaping educational reform efforts visible and tangible
  • Youth participatory action research and/or narratives of student-led organizing
  • Empirical studies or narratives that help us to understand how responses to attacks on public education are impacted by tensions or enactments of solidarity among traditionally certified teachers, alternative or emergency certified teachers, education support professionals (i.e., classroom aides, bus drivers), parents/caregivers, justice-oriented community-based groups, and/or students   


Tentative Publication Schedule:

Manuscripts due: September 30, 2024

First-Round Editor Decisions: October 5, 2024

Blinded manuscripts sent to reviewers: October 6, 2024

Manuscript Reviews due: December 5, 2024

Editor decisions sent to authors: January 5, 2025

Manuscript revisions due to editors: February 20, 2025

Final Revisions due to editors: March 10, 2025

Special Issue Targeted Release: April 2025

For details on manuscript submission, please see Workplace Information About Submissions

Additional questions can be directed to Brianne Kramer (briannekramer@suu.edu).



Anderson-Nathe, B. (2020). Prop It Up or Let It Fall? K-12 Schooling in and after COVID-19. Child & Youth Services, 41(3), 214–218.

Asbury, K. & Kim, L.E.D. (2020). “‘Lazy, lazy teachers”: Teachers’ perceptions of how their profession is valued by society, policymakers, and the media during COVID-19’, PsyArXiv, 20 July, available at: https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/65k8q.

Borter, G., Ax, J., & J. Tanfani (2022, February 15). School boards get death threats over race, gender, mask policies. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-education-threats/

Charney, M., Hagopian, J., & Peterson, B. (Eds.). (2021). Teacher unions and social justice: Organizing for the schools and communities our students deserve. Rethinking Schools.

Collie, R.J. (2021). ‘COVID-19 and teachers’ somatic burden, stress, and emotional exhaustion: Examining the role of principal leadership and workplace buoyancy’, AERA Open, 7(1), 1–15.

Cuevas, J. (2022). The Authoritarian Threat to Public Education: Attacks on Diversity, Equity, nd Inclusion Undermine Teaching and Learning. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 18(2), pp. 1-6. DOI: 

Cunningham, M.T. (February 2023). Merchants of deception: Parent props and their funders. Network for Public Education. https://networkforpubliceducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Merchants-of-Deception.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2wWJKZSEk1T8to3qoNXxYJe4Ug00Q_nnowZjLc8HKzr4i-LMrPOPp3DzI

Curchin, E., Dahill-Brown, S., & Lavery, L. (2024). Reckoning With the “Other” Pandemic: How Teachers’ Unions Responded to Calls for Racial Justice Amidst COVID-19. Educational Researcher, 0013189X241235634.

Dyke, E., & Muckian-Bates, B. (2023). Rank-and-File Rebels: Theories of Power and Change in the 2018 Education Strikes. WAC Clearinghouse.

Giroux, H. A. (2024). Educators as public intellectuals and the challenge of fascism. Policy Futures in Education, 14782103241226844.

Grooms, A. A., & Childs, J. (2021). “We Need to Do Better by Kids”: Changing Routines in U.S. Schools in Response to COVID-19 School Closures. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 26(2), 135–156. 

Hartney, M.T. & Finger, L.K. (2020). “Politics, Markets, and Pandemics: Public Education’s Response to COVID-19”, working paper. Annenberg Institute, Brown University, Providence.

Hernandez, A. O., Petrow-Cohen, C., & Kaleem, J. (2024 April 18). USC students protest the ‘silencing’ of valedictorian with cancellation of speech. The Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2024-04-18/usc-protest-valedictorian-cancelation

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T. & Bond, A. (2020, March 27). ‘The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning.’ EDUCAUSE Review [online]. Available at: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/the-difference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-online-learning (Accessed 11 July 2021)

Kramer, B. (2024). Activists, Advocates, and Agitators: 21st Century Justice-Oriented Organizing. Myers Education Press. 

Jones, D. & Hagopian, J. (2020). Black lives matter at school: An uprising for educational justice. Haymarket Books.

Maton, R. (2022). The Chicago Teachers Union as Counterhegemony: Organized Resistance During COVID-19. In Progressive Neoliberalism in Education (pp. 169-183). Routledge.

Morgan, H. (2022). Resisting the movement to ban critical race theory from schools. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 95(1), 35–41.

Morrison, D., & Porter-Webb, E. (2019). Building power through racial justice: Organizing the# BlackLivesMatterAtSchool Week of Action in K-12 and beyond. Berkeley Review of Education, 9(1).

Nossel, S. (2022, September 20). Parents should have a voice in their kids’ education but we have gone too far. Time. https://time.com/6215119/parents-rights-education-gone-too-far/

Sachs, J. (2024, Jan 24). Steep rise in gag orders, many sloppily drafted. Pen America Freedom to Write https://pen.org/steep-rise-gag-orders-many-sloppily-drafted/ 

Shelton, S. A., Barnes, M. E., & Flint, M. A. (2019). “You stick up for all kids”: (De) Politicizing the enactment of LGBTQ+ teacher ally work. Teaching and Teacher Education, 82, 14-23.

Stark, L. W. (2023). Learning and knowledge-making in contemporary educator movements. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 21(5), 754-769.

Stark, L. W., Tarlau, R., & Maton, R. M. (2024). ‘For Once We’re Asking for MORE Testing’: organisational infrastructure in the safe schools movement during COVID-19. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 1-16.

Williams, P. (2022, October 31). The right-wing mothers fueling the school board wars. The New Yorker

Zhang, Y., Mayorga, M.E., Ivy, J., Lich, K.H., & Swann, J.L. (2022). Modeling the impact of nonpharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 transmission in K-12 schools. MDM Policy & Practice, 7(2), 1–15. DOI: 10.1177/23814683221140866

Call for Submissions: Critical Education special issue on “Neoliberal Capitalism and Public Education”

Critical Education

Special Issue Call: Neoliberal Capitalism and Public Education

Special Issue Editor:
Lana Parker
Associate Professor, Education University of Windsor, Canada Lana.parker@uwindsor.ca

The Status of Public Education: Documenting Neoliberal Capitalism’s Harms and Advocating for the Common Good

Overview and Aims:

 “The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.” (Marx, 1859/1977)

Seen as a common or public good, public education offers the foundation for a more equal, just, and democratic society. As Biesta and Säfström (2023) suggest, “public education can be seen as the expression of the democratic values of liberty, equality, and solidarity. … [It has also] played a key role in promoting and sustaining these values” (Public education and the rise of neoliberalism section, emphasis in original). In this vein, a well-funded public school offers opportunities for community, fellowship, ethical relationality, and the development of critical, creative capacities (Parker, 2021, 2023a, 2023b). An economically healthy public system is marked, among other things, by: small class sizes; good teacher wages and the high levels of teacher training attendant to those wages; rich and diverse programming for all students; resources and infrastructure in good repair; and, most significantly, independence from market interests and from reliance on private sources of revenue.

Despite this underlying potential, however, any defense of education as a public good must resist nostalgia, ahistoricism, or conservativism. That is, though public education holds promise, it has also often been rooted in material, cultural, and ideological conditions of exclusion (Nelson et al., 2022). As such, public education as a common good, and the related argument against privatization, must include two parallel, though not mutually exclusive, understandings: First, that the legacy of public education in many countries has often been unjust in its implementation. Second, that although as a system it has been imperfect in its practice of equality and justice, it still represents the most powerful foundation from which to seek and improve these aims.

Decades of neoliberal capitalism have had a corrosive effect on public education systems around the world. Peters (2021) notes that one of the guiding objectives of neoliberalism is to displace the idea of public goods with the notion of public choice. This permits the entry of market ideals, profit motives, and choice through every facet of educational systems and policies. For example,

the neoliberal belief that public education funding is inefficient permits systematic and prolonged underfunding and diversions of tax-payer dollars to private schools. Neoliberal perceptions of choice and the focus on the individual versus the collective serve to similarly undermine arguments for public education for all. Further, the very premise of education — the answer to the fundamental question of what is education for? — has been reshaped by neoliberal values of economic competition and unmitigated capitalist growth. In all, scholars have documented that neoliberalism in education influences all education policy, curriculum, and pedagogy, as well as refashions the underlying economic fiscal supports that uphold the public system.

What is sometimes obscured, and perhaps increasingly so as neoliberalism enjoins neoconservative ideologies, is that the underlying mechanism of neoliberal capitalism is economic. Its project has been about converting previously public goods into terrain for marketization and competition, with an emphasis on generating profits that are concentrated into the hands of a few. As such, this special issue will focus on revealing neoliberal capitalist policies and critiquing the material conditions of inequality, impoverishment, and austerity that these shifts have produced; it is also aimed at advocacy for well-funded public education as a common good worth protecting.

 Description of Invited Articles:

For this issue, I invite analysis that foregrounds a critique of the contemporary expression of neoliberal capitalism. I seek submissions from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g., from within education, but also from public policy studies, progressive economics, sociology, philosophy, and more) to substantively engage with the material and philosophical challenges wrought by a neoliberal, capitalist totality, as it operates on education. A prevailing theme will be how this totality has produced harms for public education as a public good. Papers can be philosophical, theoretical, or conceptual; they can also be empirical, with methodologies such as Critical Policy Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, and the like. Some of the questions that you may wish to engage include:

  • What are the material harms that have been produced in classrooms as a result of underfunding and austerity budgets?
  • What are the changing economic underpinnings of public education? How has public spending changed and privatization increased?
  • Neoliberalism presumes one set of goals and accountability measures for public education systems. What alternative goals and measures could be considered?
  • How has neoliberal capitalism impoverished conceptions of public education’s purpose?
  • What might an anti-capitalist education look like?


 Manuscripts due to Editor: January 31, 2024 Manuscripts under review: February 1 – March 15, 2024

Manuscripts returned to authors for revision: March 31, 2024 Final Manuscripts due to Co-editors: April 30, 2024 Publication of Special Issue: May 31, 2024

About the Editor:

 The special issue editor, Lana Parker, is an Associate Professor of Education at the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor, Canada. She has expertise employing philosophical methods and critical discourse tools to analyze neoliberal trends in education. Her work interrogates these trends in contrast with the possibilities of ethical, responsible, and responsive pedagogy. She served as the Editor for the Journal of Teaching and Learning for three years. Her nationally funded research includes a phenomenological analysis of how capitalism and social media shape how youth engage with information, including mis- and disinformation, which is reflected in her recently published edited collection, Education in the Age of Misinformation: Philosophical and Pedagogical Explorations. In addition, Lana is a co-investigator on the Public Exchange Project, which exposes neoliberal trends of privatization in the Canadian context.

About Critical Education:

Critical Education is an international, refereed, open access journal published by the Institute for Critical Education Studies (ICES). Contributions critically examine contemporary education contexts, practices, and theories. Critical Education publishes theoretical and empirical research as well as articles that advance educational practices that challenge the existing state of affairs in society, schools, higher education, and informal education. ICES, Critical Education, and its companion publication Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, defend the freedom, without restriction or censorship, to disseminate and publish reports of research, teaching, and service, and to express critical opinions about institutions or systems and their management. Co-Directors of ICES, co-Hosts of ICES and Workplace blogs, and co-Editors of these journals resist all efforts to limit the exercise of academic freedom and intellectual freedom, recognizing the right of criticism by authors or contributors.

Author Guidelines: https://ices.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/about/submissions


 Biesta, G., & Säfström, C. A. (2023). Introduction: The publicness of education. In G. Biesta &

C. A. Säfström (Eds.), The new publicness of education (pp. 1-7). Routledge. Marx, K. (1977). A contribution to the critique of political economy. Progress Publishers. (Original work published 1859)

Nelson, C., Broom, S., Sisaket, L., & Orphan, C. (2022). Imagining decolonial desires of the public good. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 35(5), 456–477.

Parker, L. (2021). Literacy in the post-truth era: The significance of affect and the ethical encounter. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 53(6), 613-623.

Parker, L. (2023a). Education in the age of misinformation: An afterword. In L. Parker (Ed.), Education in the age of misinformation: Philosophical and pedagogical explorations (pp. 251-256). Palgrave Macmillan.

Parker, L. (2023b). Making the most of it: Thinking about educational time with Hägglund and Levinas. Journal of Philosophy of Education. https://doi.org/10.1093/jopedu/qhad067

Peters, M. A. (2021). Neoliberalism as political discourse: The political arithmetic of homo oeconomicus. In M. Sardoč (Ed.), The impacts of neoliberal discourse and language in education (pp. 69-85). Routledge.