Neoliberalism’s War Against Teachers in Dark Times Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • With schools becoming increasingly organized under the dictates of punitive and market cultures, the autonomy of educators is being constrained in such ways as to prevent them from carrying out pedagogies that might provide their students with a political consciousness and a sense of social responsibility. Teachers in the United States today are being forced to embody the role of ‘technician’ and to carry out harsh disciplinary policies, teaching-to-the-test mandates, and strict curricula that suffocate educators’ abilities foster critical civic capacities in their students. In response to this crisis of pedagogical agency among educators, this article unravels the current neoliberal attacks being waged on teachers in today’s culture of consumerism and violence. Taking up the media’s brief celebration of teachers as defenders of youth after the fall 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the article addresses the heightened difficulties teachers face in safeguarding the futures of young people. Despite the short-lived praise of teachers following the shootings, educators today are greatly subject to attacks, waged by advocates for school privatization and market-based educated, against their role as public servants and critical intellectuals. In return, educators must fight against this anti-democratic configuration of education by reconceptualising themselves as engaged citizens and public intellectuals committed to making the pedagogical more political and the political more pedagogical to nurture the critical and civic capacities of the emergent generation.

publication date

  • December 2013