In "Challenging Freedom: Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democratic Education," the author suggests that the presumed decline of democratic learning in public schooling follows from two primary forces: (a) the metaphysical implications of Cartesian psychophysical dualism that support an ontological understanding of the self as distinct from social influence and (b) a corresponding concept of freedom emerging from this ontology that exonerates individuals from any meaningful level of social moral responsibility. Although we agree in large part with the general argument advanced in the essay, there are some theoretical and historical gaps that we attempt to bridge in this response. We initially entertain the author’s proposed relationship between Cartesian ontology and the neoliberal conception of freedom. We then consider whether this understanding of freedom is coherent with a political commitment to democracy. Next, we expand on the article’s discussion of the relationship between democracy and education by suggesting that public schools since their inception have served primarily as instruments to disseminate capitalist ideology. Finally, we propose several principles of learning to advance democratic education in schools.
Hyslop-Margison, E. J.
, Ramírez, A.
Neoliberal Ideology and Democratic Learning. A Response to "Challenging Freedom: Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democratic Education".
Democracy and Education,
(1), Article 7.
Available at: http://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol24/iss1/7