Aff accentuates neoliberal crisis politics – their advantages are merely a ploy to justify private intervention into education
Slater 13—Graham B. Slater, a doctoral student in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society at the University of Utah, research focuses on a political, economic, and ecological critique of neoliberal globalization, primarily from the perspective of autonomist Marxism, and critical and decolonial theories of education, work has appeared in Policy Futures in Education and is forthcoming in Educational Studies, 2013 (“Education as recovery: neoliberalism, school reform, and the politics of crisis”, Taylor & Francis, November 15th, Available Online at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02680939.2014.904930, Accessed on 6-28-2017, HL) Since neoliberalism’s inception as a political doctrine, crisis has proven to be an integral mechanism for elite profit accumulation (Harvey 2010), political and social reform (Peters 2011), as well the revitalization of conservative cultural politics (Giroux 2008). Even Friedman ( 2002), a primary author of neoliberal thought, explicitly lauds the role of crisis in social reform. He wrote: Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable. (ix) In a sense, critical scholars are oddly indebted to Friedman for making the connection between neoliberalism, crisis, and reform so clear in this statement. His admission exposes that crises within neoliberal society should not be viewed as incidental nor should they be understood as without immediate political implications. The translation of Friedman’s sentiment by critics of neoliberal education reform has proceeded roughly along these lines: Neoliberal reformers discipline the ideological terrain of the public, while at the same time creating and maximizing crises in order to enclose common resources and institutions, converting collective resources into private property for profit accumulation (see De Lissovoy, Means, and Saltman 2014). It is no coincidence, then, that when deploying crisis politics, neoliberals evince an incisive awareness of the utility of crisis to accelerate the expansion of the private sphere and, thus, the accumulation of capital (Klein 2007). That is to say, neoliberals create destruction in order to expand sectors of potential profit accumulation, but also capitalize on seemingly exceptional moments of disaster (Saltman 2007a). In doing so, neoliberalism has become dependent on a diversification of the vectors through which crises materialize. The variegation of forms in which crises manifest provides neoliberals with increased opportunities to actualize their political visions. Analyzing the broadening horizon of neoliberal crises is essential for a critical understanding of the explicit utility of crisis to neoliberal education reform, as well for further theorizing of the role that recovery plays in securing neoliberal futures. As Milton Friedman indicates in the passage quoted above, neoliberals not only lie in wait for crises to materialize, but actively work to hasten their arrival. In the absence of any real crisis, one must be created. As Klein (2007) powerfully explains, the creation of crises has played an unequivocally central role in neoliberalism’s ‘three decades of erasing and remaking the world.’ Neoliberalism itself was spawned from a violent experiment in Chile, where in September of 1973, a US- backed coup of the Allende government saw Augusto Pinochet placed in power, subverting the democratic Chilean government’s move toward socialism (Harvey 2005). The neoliberalization of the Chilean state and economy was largely successful – save perhaps the 1982 debt crisis that hit Latin America. But even this misstep, as Harvey indicates, served as a vital lesson for the disarmingly named Chicago Boys who authored, implemented, and revised neoliberal theory and practice. ‘The result,’ Harvey (2005) writes, ‘was a much more pragmatic and less ideologically driven application of neoliberal policies in the years that followed’ (9). From this point forward, as neoliberalism was exported from its Latin American testing grounds to the global economic ‘centers’ of the US and Britain, neoliberal reformers clearly understood that friction between the purported laissez-faire ideology of neoliberal theory and the concrete practice of neoliberal policies was acceptable as long as it facilitated neoliberalism’s primary end: capital accumulation. As Naomi Klein (2007) puts it, neoliberal reformers like Milton Friedman spent the 30 years following the implementation of neoliberalism in the Global North ‘waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock, then quickly making the “reforms” permanent’ (7). Crisis politics have also played a central role in neoliberal education reform. It is generally accepted within educational research that the initial deployment of the neoliberal crisis of education was sparked by the Reagan administration’s publication of the A Nation At Risk report in 1983 (Berliner and Biddle 1996). This report raised an alarm that the ‘foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people’ (National Commission on Excellence in Education 1983, 5). A Nation At Risk identified public education as the cause of a national crisis within the sphere of global economic competition. However, as Saltman (2000) notes, ‘the crisis rhetoric in the policy report did not work to undermine public support for public education until it was picked up by the mass media’ (xviii). At this point, the message of educational failure began to proliferate, playing on racial and class stereotypes, pushing privileged groups to enroll their children in private schools, and facilitating the growth of the charter school movement. In the case of A Nation At Risk, public education constituted a barrier, not only to the potential for capital accumulation that privatized schooling promised (Saltman 2000), but to the cultivation of neoliberal subjectivities through curriculum and pedagogy (De Lissovoy 2008). As such, neoliberals were forced to ‘manufacture’ a crisis, one in which public education was framed as a barrier to global economic competitiveness, and thus a threat to national security (Berliner and Biddle 1996). For Berliner and Biddle, the manufactured crisis of the 1980s ‘was not an accidental event. Rather, it appeared within a specific historical context and was led by identifiable critics whose political goals could be furthered by scapegoating educators’ (1996, 4). As these authors indicate, business leaders confirmed the Reagan administration’s crisis rhetoric, asserting that the shortcomings of American public education directly contributed to the United States losing ground in international business competition. Simultaneously, the mass media propagated the script of public education as the source of ‘every social ill from the failure of big business to compete globally, to the loss of jobs, to a rise of youth murder’ (Saltman 2000, xviii). By negatively framing discourses about the public sphere through corporate media (Goldstein 2010), neoliberal reformers laid the foundation for a systematic dismantling of social institutions. In the three decades since A Nation At Risk, the scope of neoliberal crises has only expanded. Political crises also create opportunities for enclosure and accumulation. The events of 11 September 2001, for example, provided an opportunity for extensive neoliberalization. According to Harvey (2003), the events of September 11 constituted a contemporary Pearl Harbor, in which ‘a moment of social solidarity and patriotism was seized upon to construct an American nationalism,’ procuring more than a modicum of consent to neoliberal imperialism abroad and to increased surveillance at home (195). Not only did 9/11 result ‘in the passage of the USA Patriot Act; the creation of the Department of Homeland Security; the pursuit of the global War on Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond,’ but it also saw ‘the diversion of trillions of public dollars into the war industry and projects of domestic surveillance and policing’ (Means 2013, 15). Beyond the material consequences of September 11, neoliberal reformers also exploited the affective resonances of the event: ‘feelings, emotions, and desires that remain in bodies after that fateful day’ (DeLeon 2011, 1). The subjective damage suffered by the collective social imaginary facilitated the imposition of increased neoliberal governmentality, while simultaneously procuring consent to heightened neoliberal hegemony at home and abroad. Beyond manufactured crises and crises spurred by national and foreign policy decisions, there is a dimension of crisis politics that is far less predictable, yet not of diminished utility to neoliberal reform: ecological crisis. As ‘natural disasters’ increase – both in regularity and magnitude – due to global climate change, neoliberals have refined their ability to ‘capitalize on disaster’ (Saltman 2007a), turning environmental crises into moments for capital accumulation and neoliberal privatization (Buras et al. 2010). Perhaps the most notable recent example of turning ecological disaster into an opportunity for neoliberal education reform is Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in August of 2005. As Buras (2009) explains, the destructiveness of Hurricane Katrina precipitated a ‘neoliberal experiment aimed at reconstructing the city’s public education system along class- and race-based lines which are starker than those that pre-dated Katrina’ (430). More recent in the history of neoliberal crisis politics was the global financial crisis of 2007–2008. Spurred by predatory lending practices that resulted in a massive wave of housing foreclosures, the subprime mortgage crisis was ‘the mother of all crises’ (Harvey 2010, 6). However, as Harvey (2010) indicates, this economic crisis cannot be understood as an isolated event, but rather was the culmination of a series of more isolated financial crises that had been building since the violent emergence of neoliberalism onto the global political scene in the early 1970s (see also Harvey 2005). The emergence of the crisis, which developed during the transition between the Bush and Obama administrations, was met with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Consistent with the neoliberal targeting of education during crisis, the Obama administration used the opportunity of the financial crisis to coerce cash-strapped states into further neoliberalizing public schools. This was achieved, largely, through an integral part of ARRA – the $4.35 billion Race To The Top ‘incentive plan,’ which thrust state boards of education into competition with each other for the limited funds (Carr and Porfilio 2011). Predicated upon state adherence to and deployment of neoliberal education policies and curricular measures, Race To The Top offered a limited pot of federal funds to state departments of education, most of which applied for those funds according to strict neoliberal criteria. The applicants were judged in four major areas: improvement of data systems, teacher effectiveness, standards and assessments, and low-performing schools (U.S. Department of Education 2010). Ultimately, the states that implementedthe most extensive neoliberal policies were awarded the bulk of the funds. The primary effects of Race To The Top have been: the removal of caps on the number of charter schools allowed, the entrenchment of standardized testing, the linkage of teacher and student data under the penumbra of accountability, the dismantling of teachers’ unions, and collaboration between states to implement common core standards (Au 2013; Hursh 2013). Additionally, many states turned to educational ‘philanthropists’ (Saltman 2010), like the Gates Foundation for instance, to bankroll their attempts at winning Race To The Top funds, while at the same time the federal government continued to encourage corporate interventions into the standards and accountability ‘game,’ promising ‘that in spite of budget shortfalls, there is still money to be made’ (Burch 2010, 760). Because of the great cost of implementing the measures that Race To The Top required, states that were not awarded Race To The Top money during the first funding cycle were likely not only to extend those new assessment practices and other initiatives, but to bolster them in the hopes of securing the diminished second-round funding. Even those states that were awarded Race To The Top funds often were not given more than the costs of the changes they implemented. That ‘losing’ states ended up chasing the ghost of rapidly disappearing Race To The Top funds (truly a pittance when compared to the level of funding the Department of Defense is allotted annually) indicates at least two things: (1) Race To The Top is a coercive policy that exploits the conditions of austerity precipitated by the financial crisis, and (2) although Race To The Top is touted as a onetime ‘stimulus,’ it is in fact an integral part of a longitudinal project, intended not merely to neoliberalize American public schools, but to ensure that they remain neoliberal. Even the brief analysis of crisis politics in this section creates a basis for understanding how the discursive deployment of recovery catalyzes reform and secures the continuity of the crisis mechanism of capital. An historical assessment of crisis and reform indicates an adaptive project in which neoliberals actually learn from each successive crisis and have come to rely heavily on a widening variety of crises. From the manufactured crisis of the Reagan administration to the political fallout of 11 September, through Hurricane Katrina and the global financial crisis of 2008, we can identify subtle shifts and developments in neoliberal reforms efforts that are swiftly coalescing into a coherent logic of recovery. As crises increase in magnitude and regularity, neoliberalism becomes further entrenched by offering itself – embodied in reform – as the palliative for crisis-inflicted wounds. Thus, at the same time as recovery is a material process, it must also be understood as a mechanism of neoliberal subject production, in which subjectivities are molded to be increasingly accustomed to crisis for the purpose of further dispossessing and exploiting them with each successive investment in neoliberal recovery.
Capitalism in education makes equality and democracy impossible
Barkauskas 14 – N.J. Barkauskas, researcher and scholar studying education theory and policy, 14 ("The tension between capitalism and education in a democratic society, by N.J. Barkauskas," AJE Forum, 10-9-2014, Available Online at http://www.ajeforum.com/the-tension-between-capitalism-and-education-in-a-democratic-society-by-n-j-barkauskas/, Accessed on 6-28-2017 //JJ)
What is often overlooked is that under a capitalist economic system it is necessary that the majority of people will fail so that there can be any success at all; a consequence from which the educational system does not escape.
Lastly, education advocates often call for systemic change that allows “all students to succeed”. Such calls often fail to recognize that in a capitalist social system such change is literally impossible. What is often overlooked is that under a capitalist economic system it is necessary that the majority of people will fail so that there can be any success at all; a consequence from which the educational system does not escape. Failure of many is a necessary condition for the success of any. Necessary failure is in direct contrast with the American values housed under democracy (valuing everyone’s voice, enabling the success of all) and contrasts sharply with some stated goals of educational systems (to create an informed populace). In social systems with limited resources, and especially where money is limited, there will be competition for those resources and financial capital. A capitalist’s purpose then is to get as much capital as possible through competition; having capital is a direct measure of success and those who don’t have it are not successful capitalists. Competition for resources, and success by defeating or surpassing others, is the name of the game and the game is played just as ferventlyin the education systems of capitalist countries as it is in their banking sectors.
It’s therefore not possible for all students to be successful when they’re competing for things like class rank, time with the teacher, or attention from their parents. Furthermore, not all schools can be good schools when they are forced to compete for resources, space, or students. These limits are inherent to any capitalist system. So instead of blaming teachers and educators for ‘failures’ we might do well to consider that educational struggles don’t always come from a lack of motivation, ambition, or ability from teacher OR students. Likewise, success is not always due to student ability, school resources, or even plain hard work. There just might be legitimate instances where success, as determined by traditional measures, is next to impossible. Here we have the last and biggest tension between education and capitalism in a democratic society.
The alternative is to view the school environment as a site of the commons— only this disconnects schools and the market
Cody 13 - Anthony Cody, Spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high-needs middle school. A National Board- certified teacher, he now leads workshops with teachers on Project Based Learning. He is the co-founder of the Network for Public Education ("Interview with David Bollier: Viewing Education as a Commons," Education Week - Living in Dialogue, 3-9-2013, Available Online at http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/03/question_1_can_you_explain.html, Accessed on 6-21-2017 //JJ)
Question 1. Can you explain what is meant by "the commons"? Economists and politicians have long assumed that there are really only two sectors for governing things and "adding value" -- the state and the market. Markets are seen as the vehicle for economic progress while the state deals with governance and everything else. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that there is another sector - the commons - that is at least as important to our lives and well being. The commons consists of those many resources that we share - the atmosphere, water, public spaces, the Internet, scientific knowledge, cultural works, and much more - as well as the social systems and rule-sets that we use to manage them in fair, sustainable ways. It bears emphasizing that the commons is not just the resource itself, but the resource plus the community and its self-organized rule-sets, norms and enforcement of rules. In a broader sense, education and child-rearing are types of commons -- but I'll get to that a minute. For decades, the prevailing economic wisdom was that a commons inevitably results in the over-exploitation of the resource - a "tragedy of the commons," as popularized by biologist Garrett Hardin in a famous 1968 essay. The late Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom debunked this idea over the course of decades. She documented how self-organized commons can be effective and durable in managing farmland, fisheries, forests, irrigation water and other resources. It has since become clear that the commons is also behind the success of open source software, Wikipedia, academic research, blood banks and community gardens. This just scratches the surface of the topic because over the past decade an international movement of commoners involved in diverse realms -- farming, fisheries, forests, water, urban spaces, software, digital culture, community life, and other areas -- has taken root and started to expand. Much of this activism is about defending resources that are being appropriated and commodified. Much of it is dedicated to building new models of self-provisioning that are fair, inclusive, participatory and sustainable. In other words, the commons is emerging as a new worldview, social ethic and political tradition that actually has a long history, and is now being rediscovered.Question 2. How have the commons been eroded or lost in the past? One of the great unacknowledged problems of our time is that countless commons are now being converted into tradeable market commodities - a process that is often called "market enclosure." Enclosures enshrine price as the ultimate measure of value, trumping more qualitative, intangible values that may be ecological, social or long-term. For example, global investors are now seizing millions of hectares of farmland, pastures and waterways in Africa, Asia and Latin America with the help of complicit governments. By the logic of the market, this is enormous progress because it puts "wastelands" to productive use in the market and boosts Gross Domestic Product. But for the commoners involved, the market takeover of common lands is a simple act of dispossession. It also has devastating consequences for the natural environment.The logic of enclosure takes place in many different realms. It occurs, for example, when biotech companies patent the human genome (20% of it is now privately owned) and seeds that traditional peoples have shared for centuries. Enclosures occur when Hollywood and publishers use copyright law to prevent the sharing of works that is essential to creativity and culture; and when corporations, with the active collusion of government, are given free use of the public's broadcast airwaves, taxpayer-funded scientific and pharmaceutical research, public lands and countless other resources that belong to us all. The language of the commons is valuable because it gives us a way to recognize the proper limits of markets - and torecognize the highly generative powers of commons and commoners. The commons is no "tragedy"; it is, rather, a different way of managing resources and creating value. It's time that we recognized these unheralded systems for stewarding our shared resources and nurturing our social commitments to each other. The commons is not just a "nice thing" or a synonym for the "common good." It is a hardy system of self-governance that can manage resources in ways that are effective, participatory and fair -- and thus experienced as socially and politically legitimate. It's relevant to bring up the commons because there are some nasty enclosures currently going on education. These enclosures of public schools are generally described as "privatization," but I think that term is too anemic for describing what's going on. There is of course a private power grab and a conversion of our shared wealth to serve market purposes. But it is equally a dispossession. We "commoners" are forced to relinquish certain social roles and identities. Instead of being active stewards of our public schools -- something that we must actively be involved with and support -- enclosures force us to become "consumers" of what "the market" offers us, or to do without. Enclosures in higher education consist of corporate research "partnerships" with universities, in which the corporations essentially commandeer the research agenda, dictate many terms of the research and how it may be used, and leverage publicly funded resources for private, corporate purposes. It may also consist of treating student bodies as captive cohorts to be advertised to or given educational loans at exploitative interest rates. At the K-12 levels, enclosure may consist of the imposition of corporate-promoted educational curricula; marketing to students via sports, textbooks and student events; and educational priorities that suit the market-oriented interests of corporate leaders, such as school vouchers and "competition" as a way to improve school performance. Enclosures bring with them a pathology that most markets entail, however. Their success often stems from "externalizing" as many costs as they can onto the community, students or future generations, so that the business enterprise can become more "efficient" and "productive." This is how markets routinely function -- by generating externalities. It is why industry does not take adequate account of the long-term health of nature. Enclosures of public schools are doing the same thing. They exclude those students who are more difficult or costly to teach -- the low achievers, those with learning disabilities, and those who may not fit in. They regard students (or their parents) as "consumers," not as co-producers and collaborators in the educational process. Learning that cannot be measured in clear metrics (and therefore which cannot be a basis for market competition) are regard as secondary or inconsequential. The shared commitments of a community to each other, or the need for inclusiveness and social equity, are not seen as important because, as in any market, we are all "individuals." These are just a few reasons why the market paradigm is inappropriate as a regime for understanding the challenges of education and managing public schools. It's important to note that the privateers are not operating in a vacuum. They are making headway because the schools themselves have become bureaucratized and are not necessarily responsive to people. They are seen as offering a "consumer service," and for many frustrated parents, that is more attractive than trying to reform city school systems that are often remote, bureaucratic and politically captured. Enclosures can succeed only because there is often little genuine "commoning" going on in school governance. Commoning consists of the social practices by which commoners set their own rules and take responsibility for governance and results. In the void of citizen engagement and responsibility, it is easier for officialdom and big money to consolidate their power and enclose the commons of public education for their own (corporate-minded) purposes. Dissatisfied with government? Citizenship is ineffective? Then the answer -- say privateers -- is to become a smart consumer and privatize the schools! The only apparent choices are "the system" or "the market." I think something is conspicuously missing from this conversation: becoming a commoner is more likely to solve the problem than anything offered up by either the market or government. I think we need to imagine and develop better forms of commoning for the real-life governance of public schools.