23 SES 02 C JS, Education Reforms, Democracy and Resistance
Joint Paper Session NW 13 and NW 23
The framing research question underpinning this research was: How was resistance to the corporate reform agenda in schooling in New York State schooling created, how does it work and what are the bases of its successs? While the focus is on New York State, we would argue that a similar neo-liberal and corporate refrom agenda in relation to schooling is evident in Europe and that resistance to this is of poltical concern to European and other educational researchers. The New York case will suggest approaches to successful modes of resistance to such reforms, which are probably not as advanced or developed at this point in European schooling.
As Sahlberg (2011) describes, many countries across the globe are implementing education reforms based on neoliberal corporate conceptions of society promoting market competition, privatization, accountability, quantification, and high-stakes standardized testing focused on literacy and numeracy, which together exacerbate both educational and economic inequality in society and facilitate the already politically powerful to gain more power. However, as demonstrated by a quick perusal of Education International’s (the international federation of teacher unions located in Brussels) website (https://www.ei-ie.org/ ), there is an international movement of students, parents, educators and educational researchers who are resisting these neoliberal reforms. In the United States, the state in which these reforms are most contested is New York, where last spring 25% of the students required to take the Common Core exams refused to do so and opted out, causing chaos for the education commissioner, former chancellor and other state policy makers and challenging the validity and reliability of the test data.
In this paper we document and analyse the building of resistance to the neoliberal reforms over the last two decades, culminating in critics of Race to the Top, charter schools, and the Common Core State Standards and standardised tests now holding a majority of seats on the New York State Board of Regents and selecting Dr Betty Rosa, an experienced and progressive educator, as Chancellor.
We situate our analysis within the changing nature of governance in which policies are now produced, not through a democratic process in which citizens can influence their representatives, but where policies are made by those who use their wealth and connections to influence policy making. This is the corporate reform agenda in schooling, involving the enhanced participation of edu-businesses and philanthropic interests in setting schooling policy agendas and profiting from this (Hursh, 2016). This shift from hierarchy to heterarchy, from government to governance is reflected in the impact that philanthrocapitalists (e.g. Bill and Melinda Gates, hedge fund managers) and edu-businesses (e.g. Pearson) have over policy making at the state and federal levels in the USA (Ball, 2012; Ball & Junemann, 2012) and elsewhere, including in Europe. However, our research shows that citizens have increasingly used social media, the internet, and old-fashioned organizing to resist their potential disenfranchisement, to resist their policy reconstitution as simply consumers of schooling seen as a commodified product. Instead, they have through grass roots political movements and effective usage off social media reasserted their role as active citizens and sought to reconstitute schooling policy as framed by democratic participation.
The case study of New York is exemplary of international developments, indeed privatization and commercialization pf public schooling is a global movement. Thus there is an international domension to the research. Furthermore, there is relevance in this case for European educational researchers who are researching similar phenomena in the European and global contexts (e.g. Verger et al., 2016). The paper will draw out implications for a poltics of opposition to the corporate reform agenda with relevance for European educational researchers.
Au, W. and Ferrare, J. (Eds) (2015) Mapping Corporate Education Reform. New York: Routledge. Ball, S.J. ((2012) Global Education Inc. London: Routledge. Ball, S.J. and Junemann, C. (2012) Networks, New Governance and Education. Bristol: Policy Press. Hursh, D. (2016) The End of Public Schools. New York: Routledge. Lingard, B., Martino, W., Rezai-Rashti, G. and Sellar, S. (2016) Globalizing Educational Accountabilities. New York: Routledge. Rizvi, F. and Lingard, B. (2010) Globalizing Education Policy. London: Routledge. Verger, A., Fontdevila, C., and Zancajo, A. (2016) The Privatization of Education: A Political Economy of Global Education Reform. New York: Teachers College Press. Verger, A., Lubienski, C. and Steiner-Khamsi, G. (eds) (2016) The Global Education Industry. New York: Routledge. Verger, A., Novelli, M. and Altinyelken, H. (eds) (2012) Global Educational Policy and International Development. London: Continuum.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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