Neoliberalism, Vouchers, Critical education policy studies, Preschool, Social justice

Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy


The purpose of this paper is to uncover systems of reasoning and taken-for-granted assumptions embedded within Florida’s Voluntary Preschool Education Program (VPK) policies and their implications on matters of social justice. Systems of reasoning based upon market ideology and assumptions of good economic actors, resulting from influences of conservative modernism, are identified and found to facilitate policies failing to ensure children’s constitutional right to “high quality pre-kindergarten” (Florida Constitution [Fla. Const.] art. IX, § 1(b), 2002). The authors argue that these policies intensify exclusion through institutionalized problematizing of students and act to perpetuate discriminatory and unjust practices of schooling, in this case at the preschool level. Florida’s constitution, statutes, regulations, and other government documents are analyzed to provide insight into the systems of reasoning and taken-for-granted assumptions embedded within VPK policies. Influences from conservative modernism are identified during negotiations in policy development, issues of access within the program’s choice discourses are examined, and mechanisms for exclusion embedded in these policies revealing institutional problematizing practices are analyzed. Implications for children and families historically marginalized and disempowered are discussed along with recommendations for more socially just policies and practices.





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