The Learning Renaissance

Education as a commodity rather than a public good

One of the most regressive elements in education presently is the idea that learning is just another commodity. Once this is accepted it can be reduced by a managerial outlook into a series of production elements.

There is a regressive element in education which adopts such a view. It can be identified when you see an excessive zeal for testing, as if testing is the source of learning improvement. A restricted view of the curriculum and an unyielding preoccupation with ‘the basics’ also characterises such thinking – almost as if you are preparing students for the economy of the 1950s. There is an overemphasis on ‘selection’, as if education, rather than being a public good that serves all, is to be rationed to those who meet a certain, and spurious, academic performance target by a particular age.

A US example of this thinking, and how a company has brought industrial paradigms into the classroom, is highlighted in this recent Huffington Post article: Battle in Illinois Over the ‘McDonaldization’ of Teacher Education | Alan Singer


About educationalist04

Dazed and confused much of the time but convinced we can, as a species, do much better than this if we set our minds to being much more positive and productive towards our fellow humans.

3 comments on “Education as a commodity rather than a public good

  1. Jens Lyon
    November 16, 2015

    It all reminds me of the strict utilitarian Gradgrind school in the Charles Dickens novel “Hard Times.” The children were taught facts and ONLY facts.

    • educationalist04
      November 16, 2015

      As if there is such a thing Jens!

  2. Pingback: Education as a commodity rather than a public good | Apprenticeship, Skills & Employability.

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