The Phenomenon of Obama and the Agenda for Education: Can Hope (Still) Audaciously Trump Neoliberalism?

A volume in Critical Constructions: Studies on Education and Society Series Editor: Curry Stephenson Malott, West Chester University of Pennsylvania Anyone who is touched by public education – teachers, administrators, teacher-educators, students, parents, politicians, pundits, and citizens – ought to read this book, a revamped and updated second edition. It will speak to educators, policymakers and citizens who are concerned about the future of education and its relation to a robust, participatory democracy. The perspectives offered by a wonderfully diverse collection of contributors provide a glimpse into the complex, multilayered factors that shape, and are shaped by, education institutions today. The analyses presented in this text are critical of how globalization and neoliberalism exert increasing levels of control over the public institutions meant to support the common good. Readers of this book will be well prepared to participate in the dialogue that will influence the future of public education in United States, and beyond – a dialogue that must seek the kind of change that represents hope for all students. As for the question contained in the title of the book – The Phenomenon of Obama and the Agenda for Education: Can Hope (Still) Audaciously Trump Neoliberalism? (Second Edition) -, Carr and Porfilio develop a framework that integrates the work of the contributors, including Christine Sleeter and Dennis Carlson, who wrote the original forward and afterword respectively, and the updated ones written by Paul Street, Peter Mclaren and Dennis Carlson, which problematize how the Obama administration has presented an extremely constrained, conservative notion of change in and through education. The rhetoric has not been matched by meaningful, tangible, transformative proposals, policies and programs aimed at transformative change, and now fully into a second mandate this second edition of the book is able to more substantively provide a vigorous critique of the contemporary educational and political landscape. There are many reasons for this, and, according to the contributors to this book, it is clear that neoliberalism is a major obstacle to stimulating the hope that so many have been hoping for. Addressing systemic inequities embedded within neoliberalism, Carr and Porfilio argue, is key to achieving the hope so brilliantly presented by Obama during the campaign that brought him to the presidency.

Returning seven years later to their original pieces from this landmark book, over 20 leading scholars and activists revisit and reframe their rich contributions to a burgeoning scholarship on Whiteness. With new reflective writings for each chapter, and valuable sections on relevant readings and resources, this volume refreshes and enhances the first text to pay critical and sustained attention to Whiteness in education, with implications far beyond national borders. Contributors include George Sefa Dei, Tracey Lindberg, Carl James, Cynthia Levine-Rasky, and the late Patrick Solomon. Courageously examining diverse perspectives, contexts, and institutional practices, contributors to this volume dismantle the underpinnings of inequitable power relations, privilege, and marginalization. The book’s relevance extends to those in a range of settings, with abundant and poignant lessons for enhancing and understanding transformative social justice work in education.

Revisiting The Great White North? offers terrific grist for examining the persistence of Whiteness even as it shape-shifts. Chapters are comprehensive, theoretically rich, and anchored in personal experience. Authors’ reflections on the seven years since publication of the first edition of this book complexify how we understand Whiteness, while simultaneously driving home the need not only to grapple with it, but to work against it.
Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University Monterey Bay

Our understanding of racial inequities in education will be impoverished unless we look deeply at White privilege, its variation in different contexts, and resistances to change. Such is the call in this important book by Lund, Carr, and colleagues, whose analyses within Canadian contexts, framed and re-framed for this captivating revised edition, will be useful to educators and scholars around the world. Read this book today.
Kevin Kumashiro, Dean, School of Education, University of San Francisco; President, National Association for Multicultural Education

Darren Lund and Paul Carr have given the contributors to their original 2007 text the opportunity to revisit, rethink, reconceptualize, and reframe their earlier work. The result is an interesting, invigorating, and unsettling group of chapters that challenge readers to also revisit and rethink their own ideas about Whiteness, privilege, and power …. Teachers, administrators, policymakers, and researchers will all benefit from this critical work.
Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, Language, Literacy, and Culture College of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Lund and Carr bring together a superb collection of authors who collectively challenge readers to go beyond liberal platitudes about race … until educators confront the political, social and economic consequences of inequitably distributed privilege, the path towards equality and freedom will remain elusive. By immersing us in the discourse of Whiteness, the essays in this book illuminate that very path.
Joel Westheimer, University Research Chair & Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa

cropped-vancouver-photo.jpgThis landmark book represents the first text to pay critical and sustained attention to Whiteness in Canada from an impressive line-up of leading scholars and activists. The burgeoning scholarship on Whiteness will benefit richly from this book’s timely inclusion of the insights of Canadian scholars, educators, activists and others working for social justice within and through the educational system, with implications far beyond national borders. Over 20 leading scholars and activists have contributed a diversity of chapters offering a concerted scholarly analysis of how the complex problematic of Whiteness affects the structure, culture, content and achievement within education in Canada. Contributors include James Frideres, Carl James, Cynthia Levine-Rasky, and Patrick Solomon. The book critically examines diverse perspectives, contexts, and the construction and application of societal and institutional practices, both formal and informal, that underpin inequitable power relations and disenfranchisement. Its relevance extends beyond the Canadian context, as those in other global settings will find abundant and poignant lessons for their own transformative work in education with a particular focus on social justice. Naming Whiteness and White identity is a political project as much as an intellectual engagement, and the co-editors of this collection must be commended for creating the space for such naming to take place in public and academic discourses. Is it noteworthy to acknowledge that both Paul and Darren are White, and that they are overseeing this work on Whiteness? I believe that it is, not because others cannot write about the subject with clarity and insight, as is clearly evident in the diverse range of contributors to this book. Rather, naming their positions as White allies embracing a rigorous conceptual and analytical discourse in the social justice field is an important signal that White society must also become intertwined in the entrenched racism that infuses every aspect of our society. As Paul and Darren correctly point out, race is still a pivotal concern for everything that happens in society, and especially in schools. Excerpt from the Foreword by George J. Sefa Dei , Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)The Great White North? provides a timely and important mode of addressing and examining the contradictions of Whiteness, and also challenging its insinuation into the very pores of the Canadian social universe. While the context of the book is distinctly Canadian, there are urgent messages here on race and anti-racism for the international community. Carr and Lund have provided educators with a vibrant contribution to the critical anti-racist literature. This is a book that needs to be put on reading- lists across the disciplines! Peter McLarenProfessor, Graduate School of Education and Information StudiesUniversity of California at Los Angeles. Sense Publishers.

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In this provocative collection of essays with a distinctly critical and nuanced approach to how democracy is taught, learned, understood, and lived, authors from four continents share their visions on how democracy needs to be cultivated, critiqued, demonstrated, and manifested throughout the educational experience. The collective concern is how we actually do democracy in education. The essays argue that democracy must be infused in everything that happens at school: curriculum, extra-curricular activities, interaction with parents and communities, and through formal organization and structures. One of the book’s central questions is: Are educators merely teaching students skills and knowledge to prepare them for the world of work, or is education more about encouraging students to thrive within a pluralistic society? This book reveals that democracy is an ethos, an ideology, a set of values, a philosophy, and a complex and dynamic terrain that is a contested forum for debate. From seasoned veterans to emerging scholars, these writers challenge the idea that there is only one type of democracy, or that democracy is defined by elections. Using a range of theoretical, conceptual, and methodological approaches, each essay makes a compelling case for how education can advance a more critical engagement in democracy that promotes social justice and political literacy for all. Diverse examples illustrate the theme of doing democracy. With its numerous models for teaching and learning to encourage critical thinking and engagement, this book is certain to be an invaluable resource to educators, researchers, students, and anyone with a passion for democratic ideals. Peter Lang Publishing.

Youth Culture, Education and Resistance: Subverting the Commercial Ordering of Life is a ground-breaking collection of essays that illustrate how youth culture has the potential to build solidarity amongst teachers, activists, scholars, and practitioners for the purposes of confronting the dominant ideological doctrine influencing life at today’s historical juncture—emblemized through neoliberalism—as well as building a society free from oppressive social formations. Several leading international scholars and educators provide empirically and theoretically rich portraits of youth challenging the commercialized status quo inside and outside K-12 classrooms. They also illustrate how cultural manifestations of youth speak directly against the social actors who continually vilify youth as the source of their own marginalization and the world’s suffering and misery. Youth Culture, Education and Resistance: Confronting Commerialization and Neo-Liberalism continues the important legacy of critical pedagogy by remaining defiant in the face of what seems an unimpeachable foe. Given the daunting task faced by critical educators, it is heartening to see Brad Porfilio and Paul Carr bringing together such a relentlessly creative and courageous group of critical educators, who refuse to give up the struggle to bring social justice to education and the world-at-large, a world increasingly eviscerated of social services on behalf of finance capital. —Peter McLaren, UCLA ((from the Foreword) Youth Culture, Education and Resistance by Brad Porfilio and Paul Carr is a timely and powerful intervention in contemporary literature on youth, education, and neo-liberalism. Collectively, the authors and editors open up the discussion around young people today, offering us a new and richer language to think about the specific kinds of inequalities young people face today—and how they are being resisted. —Greg Dimitriadis, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (from the Afterword) What I find valuable about this volume is the way in which the authors look beyond tinkering with the policies of current or outgoing leaders. As this volume emphasizes, the real hope is to be found where it always has been found: in the resistance of youth. Our masters criminalize youth for the same basic reasons that they marginalize and racialize others: to divide and subjugate. I strongly recommend this volume to teachers and academics interested in looking beyond our immediate and localized concerns. —Douglas Fleming, University of Ottawa The contributors to this volume present both a theoretically complex analysis of neo-liberalism and the negative consequences for education, and a pedagogically rich portrayal of what is possible possible if we only placed people before profits. Engaging, critical, and ground-breaking.—David Hursh, University of Rochester. Sense Publishers

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A volume in Critical Constructions: Studies on Education and Society Series Editor: Curry Stephenson Malott, Queens College/CUNY Who should read this book? Anyone who is touched by public education – teachers, administrators, teacher-educators, students, parents, politicians, pundits, and citizens – ought to read this book. It will speak to educators, policymakers and citizens who are concerned about the future of education and its relation to a robust, participatory democracy. The perspectives offered by a wonderfully diverse collection of contributors provide a glimpse into the complex, multilayered factors that shape, and are shaped by, institutions of schooling today. The analyses presented in this text are critical of how globalization and neoliberalism exert increasing levels of control over the public institutions meant to support the common good. Readers of this book will be well prepared to participate in the dialogue that will influence the future of public education in this nation – a dialogue that must seek the kind of change that represents hope for all students. As for the question contained in the title of the book–Can hope audaciously trump neoliberalism?–, Carr and Porfilio develop a framework that integrates the work of the contributors, including Christine Sleeter and Dennis Carlson, who wrote the forward and afterword respectively, that problematizes how the Obama administration has presented an extremely constrained, conservative notion of change in and through education. The rhetoric has not been matched by meaningful, tangible, transformative proposals, policies and programs aimed at transformative change. There are many reasons for this, and, according to the contributors to this book, it is clear that neoliberalism is a major obstacle to stimulating the hope that so many have been hoping for. Addressing systemic inequities embedded within neoliberalism, Carr and Porfilio argue, is key to achieving the hope so brilliantly presented by Obama during the campaign that brought him to the presidency. Information Age Publishing.

cropped-vancouver-photo.jpgThe public debate on democracy is often constrained within an alienating and disenfranchising narrative of opinion polls, campaign platforms, personalities and formal structures that generate legislation, all of which surreptitiously seems to trickle down to the classroom. Paul R. Carr asserts that democracy must be cultivated in a vigorous, conscientious, meaningful and critical way in and through education in order for it to have salience in society, especially within a neoliberal conjuncture that promotes limited space for epistemological interrogation of how we understand and are engaged in maintaining and/or transforming our societies. Building on the critical pedagogical work of Paulo Freire, Joe L. Kincheloe, and others, this book develops a framework for understanding how a thicker democratic education can be conceptualized and implemented in schools. The book aims to move the focus on democracy away from voting, and place it more properly on the importance of social justice and political literacy as a way of understanding what democracy is and, importantly, how to make it more relevant for all of society. The book concludes that another democracy is possible, as well as being desirable, and that education is the fundamental intersection in which it must be developed. Peter Lang Publishing

What is the meaning of peace, why should we study it, and how should we achieve it? Although there are an increasing number of manuscripts, curricula and initiatives that grapple with some strand of peace education, there is, nonetheless, a dearth of critical, cross-disciplinary, international projects/books that examine peace education in conjunction with war and conflict. Within this volume, the authors contend that war/military conflict/violence are not a nebulous, far-away, mysterious venture; rather, they argue that we are all, collectively, involved in perpetrating and perpetuating militarization/conflict/violence inside and outside of our own social circles. Therefore, education about and against war can be as liberating as it is necessary. If war equates killing, can our schools avoid engaging in the examination of what war is all about? If education is not about peace, then is it about war? Can a society have education that willfully avoids considering peace as its central objective? Can a democracy exist if pivotal notions of war and peace are not understood, practiced, advocated and ensconced in public debate? These questions, according to Carr and Porfilio and the contributors they have assembled, merit a critical and extensive reflection. This book seeks to provide a range of epistemological, policy, pedagogical, curriculum and institutional analyses aimed at facilitating meaningful engagement toward a more robust and critical examination of the role that schools play (and can play) in framing war, militarization and armed conflict and, significantly, the connection to peace. Publisher : Routledge

As the title of this book suggests, how we understand, perceive and experience democracy may have a significant effect on how we actually engage in, and with, democracy. Within the educational context, this is a key concern, and forms the basis of the research presented in this volume within a critical, comparative analysis. The Global Doing Democracy Research Project (GDDRP), which currently has some 70 scholars in over 20 countries examining how educators do democracy, provides the framework in which diverse scholars explore a host of concerns related to democracy and democratic education, including the impact of neoliberalism, political literacy, critical engagement, teaching and learning for and about democracy, social justice, and the meaning of power/power relations within the educational context.

Ultimately, the contributors of this book collectively ask: can there be democracy without a critically engaged education, and, importantly, what role do educators play in this context and process? Why many educators in diverse contexts believe that they are unable, dissuaded and/or prevented from doing thick democratic education is problematized in this book but the authors also seek to illustrate that, despite the challenges, barriers and concerns about doing democracy in education, something can, and should, be done to develop, cultivate and ingratiate schools and society with more meaningful democratic practices and processes.

This book breaks new ground by using a similar empirical methodology within a number of international contexts to gage the democratic sentiments and actions of educators, which raises a host of questions about epistemology, teacher education, policy development, pedagogy, institutional cultures, conscientization, and the potential for transformational change in education. Publisher : Information Age Publishing

There is a widespread, but mainly untenable, assumption that education in Western societies (and elsewhere) intuitively and horizontally aids the democratic development of people. An argument could be made that in contemporary liberal democracies, education was never designed for the well-being of societies. Instead of the full inclusion of everyone in educational development, it becomes dominated by those with a vested interest in the role of the liberal state as a mediating agent that, ultimately, assures the supremacy of the capitalism and neoliberalism. This book extends beyond a theoretical analysis of democratic education, seeking to tap into the substantial experiences, perspectives and research of a wide range of leading scholars from diverse vantage points, who bring themselves and their work into the debate connecting democracy and education, which elucidates the reference to counter-hegemonic possibilities in the title. Publisher : Peter Lang Publishing


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