Schools or Markets? Commercialism, Privatization, and School-Business Partnerships

Schools or Markets? Commercialism, Privatization, and School-Business Partnerships

Schools or Markets? Commercialism, Privatization, and School-Business Partnerships

Schools or Markets? Commercialism, Privatization, and School-Business Partnerships


This book challenges readers to consider the consequences of commercialism and business influences on and in schools. Critical essays examine the central theme of commercialism via a unique multiplicity of real-world examples. Topics include: privatization of school food services; oil company ads that act as educational policy statements; a parent's view of his child's experiences in a school that encourages school-business partnerships; commercialization and school administration; teacher union involvement in the school-business partnership craze currently sweeping the nation; links between education policy and the military-industrial complex; commercialism in higher education, including marketing to high school students, intellectual property rights of professors and students, and the bind in which professional proprietary schools find themselves; and the influence of conservative think tanks on information citizens receive, especially concerning educational issues and policy.Schools or Markets? Commercialism, Privatization, and School-Business Partnerships is compelling reading for all researchers, faculty, students, and education professionals interested in the connections between public schools and private interests. The breadth and variety of topics addressed make it a uniquely relevant text for courses in social and cultural foundations of education, sociology of education, educational politics and policy, economics of education, philosophy of education, introduction to education, and cultural studies in education.


This volume provides a much needed analysis and critique of the breadth, depth, and character of corporate involvement in American public education. As the contributors point out, corporations are involved as business “partners” in K-12 education, as funders of think tanks, as media opinion shapers, as for-profit school managers, and as increasingly powerful shapers of post secondary institutions.

Over the past twenty-five years U. S. schools have faced chronic budget constraints. In this fiscal environment it is not surprising that turning to businesses as benefactors has become a commonplace response of parents, students, educators, and legislators. Schools orMarkets? challenges the reader to consider critically what many corporations have come to call “strategic philanthropy” directed at schools and colleges.

The contributors to this volume argue that the greatest and most dangerous cost of the corporate make-over of public education is the threat that it poses to the historic purpose of public schools, the preparation of students for participation in democratic civic life. Trammell, for example, argues that the result of most business-school partnerships are “undiscriminating, gulping mental habits” that are valued over “discriminating intelligence. ” In Hewitt's view, curriculum designed to meet business needs will inevitably lead to “fill in the blank” curriculum that focuses on future “real world” needs instead of curriculum experiences that are built on the here-and-now realities of students' lives.

In a variety of ways the authors contend that schools cannot serve two masters because the demands of democracy are fundamentally different from . . .

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