The Commodification of American Education
Persistent Threats and Paths Forward
Published: April 2021
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Published: April 2021
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Published: June 2021

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Published: June 2021
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6" x 9"
Language: English

A 2022 SPE Outstanding Book Honorable Mention

For the last few decades, teacher preparation has increasingly aligned itself with “best practices,” standards, and accountability, and such policies became mandatory in P-12 schooling nationwide. Technical skills instruction and methods have become the common practice of teacher preparation and accreditation of programs. Teacher candidates are encouraged to be unquestioning servants of a school system rather than educators who govern the meaning of schooling. The purpose of this book is to present a view of how we got to where we are today and to offer strategies to bring the job of teaching back to its roots. It seeks to identify the conservative influences that treat students as a commodity rather than future citizen scholars. For teacher candidates, this has meant the excision of social foundations of education courses and any further explorations of the philosophy of education or the history of schooling in their curricula. The Commodification of American Education looks at ways to re-establish teachers as professionals rather than mere technicians, and to take back public education to transform schools into places that educate while eliminating inequality and oppression.

Perfect for courses such as: Social Foundations of Education | General Methods

Table of Contents:

Noah De Lissovoy

Chapter 1

W. Gregory Harman

Chapter 2
Education and School: How Defining Our Terms Determines Our Approach
W. Gregory Harman & Matthew J. Hayden

Chapter 3
Resisting Neoliberal Reforms in Early Childhood Education: Play Pedagogy as the Antidote to GERM
Denisha Jones

Chapter 4
How Schools Reinforce Socially Constructed Notions of “Smartness” and How we Can Subvert them Through Trust
T. Jameson Brewer & Scott T. Grubbs

Chapter 5
Creating and Commodifying the Neoliberal Self: A Weberian Analysis of an International Education Course
Ashlee B. Anderson & Andrea Arce-Trigatti

Chapter 6
Combating the Commodification of Knowledge: The Maker Movement
Michael Schad & Kurt Stemhagen

Chapter 7
Unionizing Educators in Charter Schools: A Case Study of the Chicago Teacher’s Union Organizing Model
Michelle Strater Gunderson

Chapter 8
What Are “Soft Skills,” and Should We Be Teaching Them?
Bailey B. Smolarek

Editor and Contributor Biographies


Reviews & Endorsements:

“It’s a story that needs telling and this book does that very readably! It’s especially useful to those who may disagree with its underlying viewpoint. Especially at this time of peril we need to understand the connections—and misconnections—between schools and democracy!”

Deborah Meier, Leader in Holistic Reform in Urban Public Education

“For decades the forces of neoliberalism have sought to make education into a competitive marketplace, turning teaching and learning into a product for profit. The Commodification of American Education not only highlights how this has transformed us as people and attacked our very identities, it also shows how we can resist it through tactics of play, unionization, and the reclamation of ourselves as learners. In The Commodification of American Education, editors Brewer and Harman have offered a powerful collection to help us all navigate and survive these troubling times.”

Wayne Au, Ph.D., Professor, University of Washington Bothell Editor, Rethinking Schools, Teaching for Black Lives, and author of "A Marxist Education"

“This book not only problematizes the issues across the landscape of education to inform the reader, but it also inspires action. The editors open the discussion by relaying that a resistance movement is challenging the neoliberal paradigm and is opposing the commodification of students and teachers. They urge the reader to bring schools ‘under the care of professional teachers rather than leaving it in the hands of people who have never taught students.’ Readers will come away with not only with a better understanding of alternatives to neoliberal education reform, but will also glean, in each chapter, more humane ways forward for children, their families, and communities.”

Julian Vasquez Heilig, Ph.D., Dean and Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, University of Kentucky