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Corporate Elites and the Reform of Public Education$
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Helen M. Gunter, David Hall, and Michael W. Apple

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447326809

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447326809.001.0001

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When students ‘speak back’: challenging elite approaches to teaching, learning and education policy

When students ‘speak back’: challenging elite approaches to teaching, learning and education policy

Chapter:
(p.219) Fifteen When students ‘speak back’: challenging elite approaches to teaching, learning and education policy
Source:
Corporate Elites and the Reform of Public Education
Author(s):

John Smyth

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447326809.003.0016

This chapter traces the way schooling systems have become increasingly implicated in and infected by a singular neoliberal policy strain culminating in an alarming propulsion of so-called ‘disadvantaged’ young people out school in affluent western countries, effectively resulting in a denial of their access to relevant and equitably funded public education. By listening to the stories of young people who have been ‘shoved’ out of school in order to sustain the neoliberal meritocratic sham, the chapter explores both the conditions that have led to their forced disconnection from schooling, as well as a very different set of conditions which young people ‘speak into existence’ when they are permitted to re-engage with learning in alternative educational settings. The educational policy message of this chapter is that far from being the uneducable pathological ‘basket cases’ the neoliberal policy regime insists on portraying them as, these young people are in fact canny witnesses and agents capable of constructing a very different set of learning conditions—ones that are anathema to the competitive, individualistic, consumer-driven and elitist policy trajectories that have exiled them.

Keywords:   neoliberalism, educational disengagement, working class education, school cultures, speaking back

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