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Market-Based Educational Reform and the Politics of Fraud

Truthout - In Arne Duncan's world, the language of educational reform is defined primarily through the modalities of competition, measurement and quantification. Competition is now one of the most important registers organizing and defining schools and classroom pedagogical practices - no doubt made obvious by the name of Obama's educational reform policy "Race to the Top," with its allusion to Wall Street values and casino capitalism. Within this discourse, there seems to be little understanding, as Stuart Hall has argued, "that there is a limit to the good that can be produced by individual competitiveness."[1] Of course, competition itself is not the problem since competition can be healthy in a number of areas. The real issue is when competition becomes, as Christopher Newfield points out, "the sole organizing principle of society."[2] And when that happens in educational policies such as those pushed by the Obama administration, one consequence is that the ultimate agent of schooling is modeled after the unattached individual competing for financial rewards, status and a job in the workforce. Read more.

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