Stephen J Ball, Neoliberal education? Confronting the slouching beast, Policy Futures in education, Volume: 14 issue: 8, page(s): 1046-1059
Article first published online: August 23, 2016;Issue published: November 1, 2016
A major aim of this paper is to draw attention to the insidious manner in which the deficit discourse and practices associated with neoliberal reform are de- or re-professionalising educationists through an acculturation process. In the context of Ireland, as elsewhere, the author identifies how the three ‘technologies’ of Market, Management and Performance have inconspicuously but harmfully changed the subjective experience of education at all levels. It is argued that the power of privatisation in service delivery gives rise to change in education as part of a slow burn; how management is altering social connections and power relations to less democratic and caring forms, and how performativity and accountability agendas are radically undermining the professionalism of teachers in the hunt for measures, targets, benchmarks, tests, tables, audits to feed the system in the name of improvement. The paper adopts a personal tenor exhorting all educationists to become increasingly critically reflexive, politically aware and urging them to reawaken to their real educational work – the ethical and moral project that most signed up to but which has since become lost.