Is the Liberal Defence of Public Schools a Fantasy?

Critical Studies in Education 58 (3):373-389 (2017)
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In this paper, we offer a Leftist critique of standard liberal defenses of the public school. We suggest that the standard arguments employed by mainstream liberal defenders of the public school are generally inadequate because they fail to provide a credible representation of their historical object, let alone effective remedies to our current problems. Indeed, many of these narratives, in our view, are grounded in fantasies about what public schools, or teaching and learning, are or could be, as much as they are grounded in the historical realities of public schools or the realities of so-called privatization. We speculate whether the self identification of the proponents of this cause as ‘progressive’ is not part of this ideological construction and if the underlying political agenda is not in fact more conservative.
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