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On the corporatization of American education and what to do about it
on September 19, 2013
"America's Education Deficit and the War on Youth" by Henry Giroux is a searing critique of the corporatization of American education and what to do about it. Dr. Giroux is a highly influential scholar who has studied, written and taught on the subjects of education and culture for many decades. This passionate, intelligent and engaging book should appeal to everyone concerned about youth, democracy and the future.
Dr. Giroux connects the education deficit with the power of corporate authoritarianism. He observes that the public education system is under pressure to minimize critical thinking and science literacy so that students do not possess the skills to meaningfully question or challenge the status quo. As the privileges of the wealthy remains beyond reproach, pseudo-intellectuals are granted license to scapegoat immigrants, minorities, workers and the young. The author cites Mitt Romney's deceitful presidential campaign of 2012 as proof of how corporate public relations machines have been designed to narrow the discourse, manipulate facts and exclude the poor.
Dr. Giroux details the four fundamentalisms that empower the national security state. These include a market fundamentalism that espouses an extreme form of economic Darwinism; a religious fundamentalism that substitutes faith for critical thinking; an educational fundamentalism of punishment and privatization that excludes the public good; and a military fundamentalism of force and aggression that crowds out dialogue and civility.
Fortunately, Dr. Giroux explains how the Occupy movement has articulated a popular response to the corporate political agenda. Despite the criminalization of dissent, people have had the courage to speak truth to power. Dr. Giroux contends that educators can meaningfully contribute to this dialogue on pertinent issues such as gun violence, the common good and anti-science curriculums. Teachers must embrace their role as public intellectuals and prepare young people to understand their unique place in history. Through a pedagogy of "educated hope", the author believes that students who possess political awareness can apply their critical thinking skills to constructing meaningful futures for themselves and others.
I highly recommend this remarkably insightful and powerful book to everyone.