Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Zombie Politics of School Choice: A Reader | the becoming radical

The Zombie Politics of School Choice: A Reader | the becoming radical:

The Zombie Politics of School Choice: A Reader


The original zombie narrative has been re-created and distorted in contemporary U.S. pop culture, as Victoria Anderson explains:
So what were zombies, originally? The answer lies in the Caribbean. They weren’t endlessly-reproducing, flesh-eating ghouls. Instead, the zombie was the somewhat tragic figure of a human being maintained in a catatonic state – a soulless body – and forced to labour for whoever cast the spell over him or her. In other words, the zombie is – or was – a slave. I always find it troubling that, somewhere along the line, we forgot or refused to acknowledge this and have replaced the suffering slave with the figure of a mindless carnivore – one that reproduces, virus-like, with a bite.
While there is some nuance and variety among the many ways in which U.S. pop culture have manipulated the zombie narrative, central to almost all of those is the zombie as relentless consumer who has risen from the dead and resists being killed permanently.
In that context, school choice is zombie politics because the ideology will not die and its many versions (vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools) are destructive.
A few decades ago, school choice advocacy depended on the appeal of the ideology itself since choice is idealized and fetishized in the U.S.
Once school choice policy began to be implemented, and then over the past 2-3 decades as evidence from how choice has not achieved the promises made, school choice advocacy has depended on constantly shifting the type of choice and the promises.
At the center of the school choice debate is a failure in the U.S. to appreciate the importance of the Commons, how publicly funded institutions are necessary for the free market to work (both economically and ethically).
For example, publicly funded roads and highways are powerful and essential for commerce in the U.S. Many resist toll roads in the U.S., and certainly, the entire economy and way of life in the U.S. would be destroyed if we left roads and highways to the whims of the Invisible Hand.
Two facts remain important now as the election of Donald Trump and the apparent choice for Secretary of Education suggest that the zombie politics of school choice has been rejuvenated:
  • The overwhelming evidence for all aspects of school choice show little differences when compared to traditional public schools; some aspects can certainly be categorized as harmful, and any so-called positives are erased when those gains are explained—attrition, comparing apples and oranges, selectivity, inability to scale, etc.
  • Idealizing parental choice fails to step back to the bedrock promise of publicly funded institutions: insuring that choice isn’t necessary.
Just as a blow to the head and brain can kill permanently the zombie, evidence and truth should eradicate The Zombie Politics of School Choice: A Reader | the becoming radical:




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