“Thevery design of neoliberal principles is a direct attack on democracy.”-NoamChomskyIntroductionNeoliberalism is a complex subject especiallywhen we think about class, race, gender, and education. The World Was II negativelyaffected many countries around the world, neoliberalism took shape to revive theworld economy by supporting free trade, competition among entrepreneurs and globalization. Neoliberalism is more than an ideologyin fact it is a totality which effects all aspects of people’s lives, includingthe government, policies, economy, global relations, race, class and education.Apart from individual freedom, neoliberalism brought in some positive changeswhich includes market innovations, competition, better variety of products withcheaper price tag. Neoliberalism enhanced globalization, for example, consumertraders and entrepreneurs have gained tremendous power in the global market,such as free trade that eliminates tariffs to benefit free flow of goods fromone country to another, to advance the overall comfort and security of the people.
The government provides social safety netfor the poor people that comes from the taxes paid by the wealthy to supports welfarefor all, which includes, unemployment benefits, public healthcare so that it overallbenefits the poor people to not fall below poverty line. The philosophy of neoliberalismdoes not support this practice and reduces tax from wealthy people. Neoliberalism, when viewed through criticaltheoretical lens, focuses on school choices and competition in the educationsystem so that it serves the interests of those in the upper social stratification.It is essential to note that different ethnicities and race go through differentobstacle to educational achievement. So,how does neoliberalism play out when we think of education and race? The main ofdiscussion in this paper will be on the relationship between race,neoliberalism and education and its influence on race and education. Our weeklyclass reading will be explored and quoted to support this papers argument. The relationship between Neoliberalism, race and educationThe purpose of education is to educatechildren equally who have goals and aspirations in life to successfully learnand grow as an educated and a critically minded individual and thoughtfulcitizen, they will in turn make the world a better and most importantly a safe placeto live and grow in.
The importance to educate developed after the World War II,education was considered a public good and everyone was give the right toeducation no matter from which ethnicity, race, class, and gender peoplebelonged to. Chubb & Moe (1988, 1064) state”…..
.the key differences between public and private environments—andthus between public and private schools—derive from their characteristicmethods of social control: the public schools are subordinates in a hierarchicsystem of democratic politics, whereas private schools are largely autonomousactors “controlled” by the market.” The education system is fractured by neoliberalism creating segregation,division and resistance. Therefore, education has not brought openness, on thecontrary it has increased the gap between rich and poor. Marketization,competition and for-profit universities are common elements at higher educationlevel.” (Miller, Andrew B, & Whitford,2016.pp.
136). Neoliberalism started toemerge in the early 80’s which gradually effected the school systems through deregulation,that allowed schools to have more choice through charter schools and privateschools, eventually this lead to competition and inequality among students. For example, instead of collaborating and continuingto have equal access to education for all, schools started to compete forresources which eventually lead to segregation of class and race. Likewise, inone of our class reading, Hole, noted “…
that the neoliberal turnoriginated in the postwar struggles to revitalize a dwindling agricultural andindustrial southern economy and to maintain school segregation after the Brownv. Board of Education.” (Hole 2012). In addition,the readings from Gloria Ladson-Billings, who talks about separate schools and theimpact of the achievement gap in terms of educational achievements and fundsallocation in schools that effects students who belong to different race, ethnicand socioeconomic background.
“The funding disparities that currentlyexist between schools serving white students and those serving students ofcolor are not recent phenomena. Separate schooling always allows for differentialfunding. In present-day dollars, the funding disparities between urban schoolsand their suburban counterparts present a telling story about the value we placeon the education of different groups of students.” (Ladson-Billings,2006).Schools also increasing became standardizedin the measurement of student’s ability through the rise of standardizedtesting.
Given the school choices, schools favor students who perform well onstandardized admissions tests and who have high grade point averages (GPAs)from secondary school. Furthermore, it negatively effects the bright andcreative students who come from low socio-economic status (SES), since the assessmentsdetermine the success level of the student. Furthermore, Au (2011) states that “(B)yreducing students to numbers, standardized testing creates the capacity to viewstudents as things, as quantities apart from human qualities” (Au, 2011, p. 37). Therefor we can say that it is notthe students who get to decide their school choice, but it is the schools thatchooses the students. Besides the students the people who are most affected areteachers. With the increase in standardization of the curriculum, the teachershave no choice to change the curriculum to make teaching more creative that meetsthe students creative and intellectual levels.
Neoliberalism also effects thepower to explore new pedagogy. In a school system the teacher is consideredsuccessful or survives if he/she shows an increase in test score of her students. This form of system mostly effects the childrenwho come to schools to learn and explore new concepts and subjects are oftentaught from a uniform curriculum which leads to competition and lack of creativity,which causes stress in the young minds and lives. The students are powerlessthey are trapped in the uniform curriculum, the parents and students justfollow what is offered, they are not challenged which ultimately leads to dropouts in huge numbers.
In the reading from Stitzlein& Smith (2016). “Teacher turnover produces instability withinschools, communities, and teaching workforces. This is especially true ofcharter schools, which experience higher turnover rates that traditional publicschools” (pp.
51). Neoliberalism hasreally destructed and negatively impacted the education system. As stated by Bonilla-Silva in her article, “Racism is the productof racial domination projects (e.g.
, colonialism, slavery, labor migration,etc.), and once this form of social organization emerged in human history, itbecame embedded in societies.” (Bonilla-Silva,2001; Robinson, 2000).
From one of our class readings, Brown & Delissovoy (2011) quotes Bonilla-Silva’sargument which suggests that “race and racism are both systemic andinstitutional, as opposed to be an outcome of other forms of oppression (suchas that based on class) or an overt and irrational act of racist practices.” Bonilla-Silva (2006) “…the way racism is structuraland systemic in all racialized social systems the placement of people in racialcategories involves some form of hierarchy that produces definite socialrelations between the races. The race placed in the superior position tends toreceive greater economic remuneration and access to better occupations and/orprospects in the labor market, occupies a primary position in the politicalsystem…” (469–470). Besides our class reading, I would also liketo connect how race and education plays out in MichelleAlexander (2010) book: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age ofColorblindness. “millions of black people who were arrested for very minorcrimes, for example, for the possession of drugs, and some for no fault at all.”(Alexander, 2010).
It is crucial for the economy’s growth and progress that thechildren from different background, color and ethnicity should be educated torepresent confidently a skilled workforce globally. Like the prison systems Alexander adds thatthe, “people challenge the injustices found within the education systemsregarding race to push for reform. The worst schools can be found in the poorblack communities that lack federal funding which creates a vicious cycle wheremany students receive less educational achievement or even struggle to graduatehigh school and get recirculated into the prison system.” (Alexander,2010). “Without a quality educationit is hard to find success in today’s world. Schools are not preparing andfailing students giving them no choice but to live lives of crime. Oncestudents are expelled, they are left without educational services and areforced to drop out of school.
” (Alexander, 2010). “After dropping out, young adolescentsare more susceptible to participating in illegal activity and getting introuble with law enforcement. Instead of enforcing policies that lead to kidsgoing down the wrong path, schools should enforce policies that will benefitstudents in the long run.” (Alexander, 2010).
Theuniversities have become money minting businesses and the student arecommodities. The education system is no longer seen as a social good withessential values and ethics, this practice has negatively affected human race,especially poor children and women. Because they belong to different social andcultural background and especially who are not privileged. To further draw fromour weekly readings, Lipman in her book states that “to bring education, alongwith other public sectors, in line with the goals of capital accumulation andmanagerial governance and administration” (Lipman,2011, p. 14). The politics and neoliberal ideology of the current educationclimate in the United States, which is more focused on politician and money-makingideologies than focusing on fixing the broken education system or catering to the poor children who are notwell served when it comes to their intellectual curiosity and development. ConclusionKolderie, Ted has suggested, “that the basic issue is nothow to improve the educational system; it is how to develop a system that seeksimprovement.” (Liberman, M, 1998).
Equalopportunity should be given to African American, Latino to share decision-makingpower in terms of policies, regarding what is policy is good for them and forthe economy. If every citizen of the United States has the same constitutionalrights, then there shouldn’t be a racial issue in the justice system. Thejustice system needs to stop seeing all black individuals as “criminals”, andthe education system needs to offer equal educational opportunities to allpublic schools.
Schools should always aim for continuous improvement, so theycan provide the best quality and equal education to all kinds students and anoverall better educational outcome that can change the values of the educationsystem. ReferenceAlexander,M (2010). The New Jim Crow: MassIncarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: The New Press, 2010),ISBN 978-1-59558-103-7.Au, W. (2011). Teaching under the newTaylorism: high-stakes testing and the standardization of the 21st centurycurriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43(1), 25-45.https://doi.
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