Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Globalization and charter schools

Below is a link to a paper I did a few months ago for a class on current education issues. I wanted to better understand the charter school phenomenon as an expression of globalization as I have understood it. Here is the abstract:

Education has always reflected the mode of production. "Globalization" is a new mode of capitalist production, capitalism in the age of electronics, with distinctive features and demands. Charter schools, as an education reform, reflect important threads within globalization. First, the reform of educational content and delivery is really a change to meet the needs of globalization for new skill sets. Second, charter schools are a form of privatization, which is an important feature of globalization's demand for new sites of valorization and profit. Third, the network form is an emergent property of globalization, which is expressed through attempts to break down the centralized public school system through charter schools. The debate around charter schools takes place within the assumption of the supremacy of the market and the inevitability of globalization, leading to a set of limited or even false choices. For a real debate on education reform, one must move beyond the narrow confines of the terms of globalization.
I need to work a more on the ideas I think. Comments welcome; here is the link to the full piece: Globalization and charter schools.



Todd Alan Price said...

thanks I'll review this reading

Todd Alan Price said...

hey this is great stuff!
I believe the word Globalization has become dogma, it is merely used as rhetoric to open the door to all kinds of other assumptions which in turn mask the growing chasm between haves and have nots/

Anonymous said...

I do agree with the premise that education follows the means of production. I actually wrote a paper on that very thing, in regards to Portland Maine. Here's the link: http://www.helium.com/items/1193552-portland-maine-education-history

The 19th century assumed most students would just learn remedial tasks and never proceed further. High schools was geared to those pursuing advanced degrees in college. When more students started to attend HS machine classes, typing classes, and other practical subjects were added.

Children were also taught in a manner conducive to the jobs they would most likely perform, factory workers then cubical jockeys later on.

How we prepare students, assess students, everything about schooling has yet to evolve. You can lump whatever new fads or technology on schooling you want, but we still aren't focusing on real understanding, problem solving and analysis.

sarah said...

I suggest being more specific in what kinds of schools are front runners for privatization. Here in Oregon we have public charters that are becoming the mode for communities to create education that makes sense for the kids on a smaller scale.
Another thing is I am not sure why charters are being singled out in terms of perpetuating globalization as most public schools follow the same practices and often curriculum as charters.
It sounds like trusting the slow bureaucracy of district schools to prevent real time following of market trends. I also haven't thought this out completely but am intrigued.

jd said...

I'm not arguing that charter schools are perpetuating globalization (well maybe they are and maybe they aren't, and I absolutely agree that the public school system perpetuates just as much) so much as they represent or manifest certain processes that I associate with globalization -- they are symptoms or expressions of globalization, as I understand it.

I agree that charter schools could have (and in some cases do have) a progressive role to play, but I also think that generally, in practice, they have represented the trend away from community control and towards privatization. (Which is not to say that public schools are paragons of community control either, but at least the possiblity is implicit in the concept of "public education".)

The whole debate around charters has mostly taken place within the context of the Market, and sets up false choices for parents, teachers, and the community at-large. As Todd pointed out above, the substantive questions of what education should be and how to carry it out in the most democratic and socially and humanly productive way is lost in the fog of rhetoric.

Thanks for the comments all.