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Crisis Sublime

THE PHENOMENON OF OBAMA AND THE AGENDA FOR EDUCATION

CALL FOR CHAPTER PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS

The phenomenon of Obama and the agenda for education: Can hope audaciously trump neoliberalism?

Under Contract with Information Age Publishing

Co-editors:

Dr. Paul R. Carr: Educational Foundations, Beeghly College of Education, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH, USA, 44555, prcarr@ysu.edu http://www.coe.ysu.edu/~paulcarr/

Dr. Brad J. Porfilio: Educational Leadership, School of Education, Lewis University, Chicago, IL, USA, porfilio16@aol.com

Paul R. Carr is originally from Toronto, and now resides in Montreal. He studied for two years in France in the early 1980s, and then undertook the rest of his university studies in Canada in the areas of political science, sociology and education. He completed his doctorate in the sociology of education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in 1996, with his thesis examining anti-racism and institutional culture in education. For the past few years, he has been a professor at Youngstown State University, where he teaches courses in multicultural education, the sociology of education, diversity and leadership, and qualitative methodology. His current research is broadly concerned with social justice, with specific threads related to critical pedagogy, democracy, media literacy, and intercultural education. In 2007, he co-edited The Great White North? Exploring Whiteness, Privilege and Identity in Education ( Rotterdam : Sense Publishers), and, in 2008, co-edited another book, entitled Doing Democracy: Striving for Political Literacy and Social Justice ( New York : Peter Lang). He is currently finalizing two other edited books dealing with intercultural education and youth culture, respectively, as well as a single-author book on critical pedagogy and democracy. Paul is the co-founder and co-director of the Global Doing Democracy Research Project, which aims to produce a range of studies on the international level, leading to critical, comparative analysis of how democracy and education can be more effectively connected. He has a blog on the Paulo and Nita Freire International Center for Critical Pedagogy on the theme of democracy. Lastly, he has been involved in a range of projects and initiatives in relation to solidarity with Latin America. His website is: http://www.coe.ysu.edu/~paulcarr/

Dr. Brad J. Porfilio is Assistant Professor of Education at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. He teaches courses on critical pedagogy, qualitative research, globalization and education, multicultural education, foundations of education, and curriculum theory in the Educational Leadership for Teaching and Learning Doctoral Program. The Educational Leadership Program at Lewis University is unique in its critical and transformative focus where students are prepared to become transformative educational leaders who are deeply discerning, knowledgeable and approach the educational system as a potential avenue for challenging and transforming the status quo. Dr. Porfilio received his PhD in Sociology of Education in 2005 at the University at Buffalo. During his doctoral studies, he served as an Assistant Professor of Education at Medaille College and D’Youville College, where he taught courses across the teacher education spectrum and supervised pre-service and in-service teachers from Canada and the US. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, edited volumes, and conference papers on the topics of urban education, critical social studies education, neoliberalism and schooling, transformative education, teacher education, gender and technology, and cultural studies.

Premise for the book:

Obama is, arguably, popular at home and (especially) abroad, especially among people of “color”. Expectations are high that he will transform the United States. His style, message and presence are extremely attractive, especially following eight years of problematic leadership in the White House.

Why is Obama popular? Does he provide hope, as he eloquently argued throughout the electoral campaign? Can he change society when the two-party system, combined with an overpowering neoliberal economic model, is infused into the cultural and political landscape of society? Will he challenge the military-industrial model, scaling back the 750 US military bases in a hundred countries and untold billions being spent on military purposes? Will he dismantle monopolistic, undemocratic business practices that supposedly underpin the marketplace? How will he promote meaningful critical engagement and change in relation to race, discrimination, marginalization and differential power relations?

The above questions are fundamental to framing a debate around what type of hope and change we are considering. To undertake an analysis of what this means in real terms of change, we are seeking progressive scholars to interrogate Obama’s education vision, agenda and policies, and, further, to assess how well the education agenda might address the broader call for change. While this is early in Obama’s first term, we consider education to be the lynchpin to promoting a paradigm of engagement that advances social justice while contextualizing neoliberalism. We have found only one book that addresses the Obama agenda but this work is not a critical diagnosis of the issues.

Globalization is not simply a concept that leads to prosperity for all, and continuing to consider education as a consumer-good, rather than a public good, can serve to reinforce social inequities. Moreover, the antipathy that many people around the world exemplify toward Americans, often focused on US foreign policy, will not be diminished if Americans themselves are not more engaged with “others”. Education is the key to critically understanding and challenging war, patriotism, inequities, injustices, and building a more robust, dynamic and meaningful democracy.

The challenges in education are enormous, given the effect of several years of No Child Left Behind. Obama’s early indications at changing education policy have left some believing that the substance is much more conservative than the style. Support for charter schools and merit pay for teachers have left some wondering if the US will further slide into decay internationally, where it traditionally does poorly on comparative assessments. Renowned cultural studies scholar Henry Giroux has commented that Obama’s plans for education will serve to further disenfranchise marginalized groups.

We are interested in examining the state of public education under Obama, and how education may or may not be used as a lever to transform society, to effectively build the socio-cultural and political architecture that can buttress a diminution of racial, ethnic, religious, gender and class cleavages. Thus, understanding and interrogating neoliberalism will be an integral focus of this book, seeking to determine if the change espoused from above (the Obama government) can find its way into the classroom, the community and workplace.

Our conceptual framework is inspired by the burgeoning critical pedagogical movement (Freire, Giroux, Kincheloe, Macedo, McLaren, Steinberg). As Freire has underscored, education is a political project, and our analysis will critically dissect and unravel the policy, curricular, pedagogical and socio-political contextual variables, manifestations and proposals framing the Obama educational agenda.

With trillions of dollars being spent on bailouts of banks, insurance companies and car manufacturers, in addition to the endless stream of funds being allocated for war, little attention has been paid to the importance of education. Yet, education is where society can be transformed or re-produced.

This book will not only provide a detailed, critical analysis of the Obama education agenda. It will also provide proposals and insight into an alternative vision for education, one that takes into consideration neoliberalism, and seeks to neutralize it through critical pedagogy.

Audience:

 This volume will be a valuable resource to instructors who teach in the fields of teacher education, social studies, educational leadership, social work, social, cultural and philosophical foundations of education, sociology, political science, and global studies as well as their students. It may also be of interest to researchers, scholars, and the broader education public as well as mainstream and media sources.

Time-frame:

1)      Proposals due by March 1, 2010;

2)      Confirmation of selected chapters by April 1, 2010;

3)      Contributors will have their first drafts completed by June 15, 2010.

4)      The editors will review these first drafts, and provide authors detailed comments and suggestions by July 15, 2010.

5)      The contributors will make all of the necessary edits, and send the final chapters to the editors by September 1, 2010.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

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One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Villaraigosa Progressive Mayor on 06 Jul 2013 at 2:13 am

    […] The early success of Villaraigosa’s CSR SuperPAC yielded two board members who inflicted considerable damage to public education: Mónica García and Yolie Flores-Aguilar. Hand picked by the Mayor for their disdain of the public commons and working class people, they oversaw an unprecedented period of educator layoffs, school closures, school reconstitutions, charter giveaways, and more. Flores-Aguilar, who was unabashedly a Gates Foundation employee while holding her LAUSD seat, introduced a particularly pernicious reform named Public School Choice (PSC). The resolution was crafted in response to the strong push to ever increase charter school market share, and was designed to give away brand new public school facilities away to corporately managed Charter Management Organizations (CMO). The PSC school giveaway project was widely condemned by grassroots civil rights groups and social justice organizations like Association of Raza Educators. CSUN Professor Theresa Montaño’s analysis of PSC is spot on: […]

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