Social Justice and Resisting Neoliberal Education Reform in the USA (FORUM 3)
Author: WAYNE AU
Efforts to reform public education along free-market, corporate-styled models have swept across many nations. In the USA these reforms have included an intense focus on the use of high-stakes, standardized tests to quantify students, teachers, and schools for market comparisons, the deprofessionalization of teaching, and the establishment of deregulated for-profit and non-profit charter schools (equivalent to the United Kingdom’s ‘academies’). These trends aim to challenge teachers’ unions, gain access to public school monies, and restructure schools in a competitive market and at the same time erode autonomy in education. However, these corporate education reforms in the USA have met resistance from multiple contexts and in a variety of forms. After briefly providing an overview of these corporate reforms and their impacts in the USA, this article takes up some of the ways that educators, parents, and communities in the USA have organized against the encroachment of neoliberal, corporate reform in public education policy and practice.