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Document Type

Book Review

Abstract

As William Watkins and the collected authors of The Assault on Public Education document clearly, the contemporary fight for democratic education within the United States is dominated by an interlocking set of ideologies and practices that cohere around central themes of privatization, commodification and standardization – all dominated by an instrumental rationality that supports hegemonic systems of power and control. Within this neoliberal conceptual and practical puzzle, students, parents and educators are discouraged from questioning reform efforts purportedly aimed at democratic ends. As families and educators across the United States know only too well, though, the emphasis on charter schools, choice, privatization, testing and accountability are altering the educational landscape in ways that exacerbate the already profoundly disturbing misalignment between our nation’s espoused educational aims and many of our school practices. Despite rhetoric that we want all students to succeed and feel intellectually as well as personally nurtured and inspired by their school experiences, public education has increasingly become morally, intellectually and emotionally destructive for many of our children and youth, especially those from the most marginalized of backgrounds.

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