Democratic Education Question Essay

Pages: 8 (2620 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Teaching

Why do you think neoliberalism has become the dominant discourse of education, despite the fact that Finland seems to go against most of the tenets of neoliberalist education and yet scores so well on the PISA tests? Is it the inevitable way that the world is moving and education needs to adapt, or are there other models that should be considered for teaching and learning?



Wendy Brown (2003) states that neoliberalism equated with a radically free market where "maximized competition and free trade achieved through economic de-regulation, elimination of tariffs, and a range of monetary and social policies favourable to business and indifferent toward poverty, social deracination, cultural decimation, long-term resource depletion and environmental destruction." (Brown, 2003, p. 2)

So neoliberalism can be summed up in four major types of public policy:

Free trade,


Fiscal austerity


John Dewey's Theory of Education

Warde (1960) explains this theory; unifying principles of democracy and education will create an American society depicting creative and well-adjusted youth. The three steps are:

1. Free availability of kindergarten to college

2. Children would carry on the educational process, aided and guided by the teacher

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3. They would be trained to behave cooperatively, sharing with and caring for one another image.

Warde (1960) stated that by following this theory the differences between the old education and the new conditions of life would be removed. The progressive effects radiating from the schools would instigate and strengthen the building of a democratic order of free and equal citizens.

Essay on Democratic Education Question No. What Assignment

Since the 1980s the impact of neoliberal and neoconservative ideas on education in the UK and USA has been dramatic. In the UK, protagonists argued that education had been going in the wrong direction and attacked ideological attack resulting in quality of primary education in England. From the 1950s to the early 1980s those teachers were respected due to their professionalism and because they engaged in a variety of national curriculum projects. During this period schools had both greater autonomy and greater local support than thereafter (Hicks, 2004).

Hicks (2004) state that money spent on education is seen as a waste of time unless it helps the country compete efficiently and effectively in the international market. The metaphors applied to education became those of the market place: parents as consumers, business as the model for education, internal and external competition in schools to bring out what is the best in both pupils and schools.


Neoconservative is a "conservative who advocates the assertive promotion of democracy and United States national interest in international affairs including through military means." Neoconservatives are not really conservative and neoliberals are not really liberal. So a person can be both at the same time. Neoconservative policies with respect to education will include; common curriculum, accountability of teachers, responsibility of teachers for education and central control over education (Apple & Swalwell, 2011).

Waiting for Superman

According to Apple & Swalwell (2011),"Waiting for Superman" explores the tragic way of failure of American education system. It is incorporated by neoliberal idea, shows that America had the best public education system dominating internationally. Regardless of systemic and structural social inequities that powerfully shape the lives of the children and their caregivers, the film portrays them all as equally tragic. These are children who want desperately to succeed but who are likely to be crushed by bureaucracies, bad teachers, and unions unless charters with dynamic leaders can save them.

Apple & Swalwell (2011) blame the teacher's Union for lagging education because they themselves are unionized and bad teachers are protected by them at the expense of students. By blaming these unions, oppression of children, racial and social issues are not addressed. It also fails to address the impact of No Child Left Behind and other policies that cut off school funding. This also does not discuss curriculum change towards test preparation, mechanized teaching, and further marginalized children who are predicted to drag down test scores

As the documentary points out only one in five charter schools perform better than regular school, the ultimate solution for the students, teachers and parents. Rather, the key is not to admit all children in charter schools, but to make all schools more like the charter schools. That would involve discipline, longer school working hours, higher expectations in terms of performance and more flexibility to intake good teachers and get rid or train the bad ones.


Finland's teachers are also fully unionized, teaching there is in a homogeneous and wealthy nation. Their educational system has access to social support system. There are many factors that are to be considered in adapting educational models. The web woven between charter schools, neoliberal venture capitalists, and neoconservative think tanks forms powerful, interconnected force intending to influence votes on policies supporting charter schools and even running candidates.

These promoters include most prominent educational leaders and policy makers. Research needs to be done in order to expose this political effect and attempt to protect public institutions.

Our schools, teachers and students deserve better. Therefore they need to work together along with the help of state to run a progressing educational system. Competition is the basis of improvement. Therefore, the educational methods have to be competitive with global market. Finland succeeds due to the huge safety net for citizens, whereas everywhere else cutting edges are common. Segregation, property-tax-based funding formulas, centralized textbook production, lack of local autonomy and shared governance, de-professionalization, inadequate special education supports, differential discipline patterns, and other such matters need to be addressed in order to improve educational system. However, the need to adapt according to the changing technology and laws is necessary.


IDEN International Democratic education Network. (2010). Retrieved October 2012, from

Apple, M.W., & Swalwell, K. (2011). Reviewing Policy: Starting the Wrong Conversations: The Public School Crisis and "Waiting for Superman." Educational Policy, 368-381.

Ayers, W. (1992). The Shifting Grounds of Curriculum Thought and Everyday Practice . Taylor & Francis, 259-263.

Ayers, W. (1994). Can City Schools be Saved? Educational Leadership, 60.

Ayers, W. (2009). Teaching in and for Democracy . Kappa Delta Pi Record, 30-33.

Beane, J.A., & Apple, M.W. (1995). The Case of Democratic Schools. Democratic Schoold.

Brown, W. (2003). Neo-liberalism and the end of Liberal Democracy. Theory & Event, 7(1).

Gutmann, A. (1999). Democratic Education. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Hicks, D. (2004). Education and Ideology.


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How to Cite "Democratic Education Question" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Democratic Education Question.  (2012, October 19).  Retrieved September 26, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Democratic Education Question."  19 October 2012.  Web.  26 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Democratic Education Question."  October 19, 2012.  Accessed September 26, 2020.