EDU5PCL Critical Perspectives In Curriculum Leadership

EDU5PCL Critical Perspectives In Curriculum Leadership

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EDU5PCL Critical Perspectives In Curriculum Leadership

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EDU5PCL Critical Perspectives In Curriculum Leadership

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Course Code: EDU5PCL
University: La Trobe University

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Country: Australia

Question:

The article, ‘Doing things the right way: Legitimising educational inequalities in conservative times’ _by Michael Apple outlines some of the tensions surrounding education in international education policy. He challenges educators to think about education reform and its impact on the larger social area. Write a critical reflection of this article and consider your assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, and views on curriculum reform policy.

Answer:

According to the writer, the state of education in Great Britain and the United States of America is in a state of flux wherein many of the educational systems and educational institutions are perceived to be a failure. Lack of discipline, high drop – out rates, the failure to teach vocational and economic skills to students that will prepare them for jobs etc are some of the problems plaguing the educational system  in Great Britain and the United States of America which has in turn led to poverty, unemployment, a loss of international competitiveness etc. According to the writer, if one returns to a unified culture, schools would be more well-organized, and it would augment the effectiveness of schools.
According to the writer, an excess of democracy, culturally and politically is the main reason for the declining economy and culture. According to Neo-liberals, schools are seen as black holes where one pours money, which thereafter vanishes without providing the requisite results. According to the neo-liberals, everybody should act in a way that maximizes their benefits.
According to the writer, in such a society, students are considered as human capital. The world is extremely competitive and students, the leaders of society who will work for society in the future, must be provided with the adequate skills to be able to compete competently. According to the writer, not only are schools and colleges impeding the efforts of children to be good and able workers of society in the future, public schools are also taking the financial life out of the society. According to the writer, schools unfortunately are established for teachers and bureaucrats of the state and not consumers, i.e, students. To elucidate his point, the writer says how Channel One, a television channel, offers to schools, a free satellite dish tv, two VCRs and television monitors for every classroom in the school. Everyday there is a news broadcast for the students which is free. In return for the satellite tv , two VCRs and television monitor for every classrooms, which are all free and the news as well, all schools that are participating sign a contract for three to five years stating that their students will tune in and watch the news provided by Channel One daily. In doing so, it is ensured that not only will only Channel One be received and telecast for their students, along with the news a plethora of advertisements of  food, cosmetics, clothing etc that students by contract will be subjected to watch. Students are in reality sold as a captive audience to corporations. As according to the law, the students are supposed to be at school during that time, the United States of America is one of the first nations in the world to sell their students as commodities to various companies who are willing to advertise in Channel one during that time, in return for a ‘captive’ audience. Thus not only are schools turned into commodities but so are students unfortunately.
According to the writer, the neo-liberals consider the world to be a supermarket where the choice of the consumer guarantees democracy and where education is perceived to be manufactured goods like biscuits, chocolates etc. Thus, democracy has become consumptive wherein the role of the citizen is akin to that of a buyer in a supermarket. Rather than being a political concept, democracy is viewed as an economical concept, where the consumer is stripped off his race, class and gender. The symbolism behind the words consumer and the supermarket, are quite appropriate to this context because just as in real life, a person can go into a supermarket and choose from a wide array of things, impoverished people can only afford to stand outside the supermarket and can only watch and engage in “post-modern consumption.” Being financially weak, they cannot procure the products they require and can only stand and watch silently (Acemoglu et al. 2015).
According to the writer, neo-liberal policies are seen as an attack on teacher unions who are perceived to be more costly and too influential. This can also be interpreted as an attack towards women, as the majority of teachers in the United States of America and elsewhere in the world are women.
The writer also feels that education should have vocational aspects so that after completing school and college, children are equipped and are adequately trained for working in hi –tech related jobs in the outside world. This would reduce unemployment and alleviate poverty.
The article also threw light on various programs like Learnfare and Workfare prevalent in the United States of America wherein parents loses a sizeable amount of welfare benefits if their wards miss a considerable amount of attendance and also there are no benefits if a person refuses to do work which provides less money, no matter how humiliating or even if the care of a child and care of one’s health are not provided to parents by the state ( Santos 2016 ). These kinds of policies remind one of the workhouse policies that were at one time so prevalent and damaging in the United States of America, Britain and elsewhere in the world.
The purpose of the article was to analyze the social movements that were having a huge effect on educational policies and educational practices and the author was successful in throwing light on this pertinent issue.
I could relate to the article, especially in the parts where the author tried to show how all of us are perceived as commodities, not only educational institutions like schools, but also students. Unknowingly we have become commodities in this system. The article has challenged my attitudes and beliefs towards schools and their prescribed curriculum. It has made me realize that there is an underlying politics in educational institutions.
The topic was well discussed, well researched and well written and although I subscribe to almost all the views of the author, I do not subscribe to the idea that excess of democracy is one of the major causes that lead to a decline of economy and culture. Even though democracy does not directly have an impact on the growth of an economy, democracy contribute to economic growth indirectly. Democracy is tied with socio-economic sources of growth like increase in educational opportunities, the access of education among the underprivileged sections of society and also an increase in lifespan through an improvement in educational institutions, like schools, colleges etc as well as healthcare. I also do not subscribe to the idea of the neo liberals that schools are seen as black holes where one pours money which then vanishes without providing the requisite results. Schools provide knowledge and education which is of utmost value. I also do not believe that schools are established for teachers and bureaucrats of the state and not consumers, i.e, students. Since time immemorial, schools have always been established for education, for educating children and the spread of education has been the primary motive and guiding factor of all schools.
Neo-conservatives mourn the fading of the time-honored set of courses and the morals that it represented. However it is of primal importance to remember the conventional syllabus whose decline is mourned by neo conservative critics, ignored most of the people that consist of the population in America whether they were from Asia, South America, Africa, Central America or from indigenous North American people. It focused only on those people who came from Northern and Western European nations even though the culture of the United States of America constituted more culturally diverse and complex set of people. The traditions and culture of this constricted range of people were seen as archetypes of custom for everybody which had to be adhered to and followed. Apart from teaching these traditions to the people, these traditions were taught and were perceived as superior to every culture (Cobb-Clark et al. 2017).
I have learnt about the complexities of the education system in the United States of America and Great Britain. I have also realized that educational policies and educational practices are multidimensional and multi-faceted. This article has made me more socially aware and has given me an insight to the educational politics of the United States of America, Britain and elsewhere in the world. I have also realized how politics pervade every aspect of our life, without us even being aware of it and how at times, we are sold off and marketed as commodities without us even being aware of it. I have also learnt how politics play a huge role and a direct effect on education and educational institutions in the United States of America, Britain and elsewhere and how it affects teachers and students and the management of schools and colleges and other educational institutions. I could apply what I have learnt, in my own teaching practice by teaching my students about this and thereby enlightening my students about it. Educational equalities which is so extremely essential can be promoted by educating the youth about it.
References:
Michael W. Apple (2005) Doing things the ‘right’ way: legitimating
educational inequalities in conservative times , Educational Review, 57:3, 271-293, DOI:10.1080/00131910500149002
Acemoglu, D., Naidu, S., Restrepo, P., & Robinson, J. A. (2014). Democracy does cause growth (No. w20004). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Cobb-Clark, D. A., Kettlewell, N., Schurer, S., & Silburn, S. (2017). The Effect of Quarantining Welfare on School Attendance in Indigenous Communities.
Santos, C. (2016). Social Policy: From the Death of Welfare State to the State “Nameless”. An historic overview of Social Policies in South and Eastern Countries. Journal of Social Theory, Empirics, Policy and Practice, 13, 41-54.

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