Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kenneth Saltman on Corporate School Reform

Kenneth Saltman, in a long critique of the corporate take over of K-12 education, offers several insights relevant to the privatization of public higher education.  

For example:
The corporate takeover of schooling means the overemphasis on standards and standardization, testing and "accountability" that replicate a corporate logic in which measurable task performance and submission to authority become central. Intellectual curiosity, investigation, teacher autonomy and critical pedagogy, not to mention critical theory, have no place in this view. "Critical" in this context means not merely problem-solving skills, but the skills and dispositions for criticizing how particular claims to truth secure particular forms of authority. 
Privatization produces social relations defined through capitalist reproduction that function pedagogically to instantiate habits of docility and submission to authority at odds with collective control, dialogue, debate, dissent, and other public democratic practices. Privatization fosters individualization in part by encouraging everyone to understand education as a private service primarily about maximizing one's own capacity for competition. This runs counter to valuing public schooling for the benefit to all. 
Thanks to Jaime Becker for the link.  Wendy Brown is also very good on the relationship between democracy and the privatization of schooling.

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