Sample Essay on Neoliberalism in Education

Sample Essay on Neoliberalism in Education

While neoliberalism is a common term, it is not one that many people use unhappily. There are those who view it as ideological jargon while others use it for purposes of describing what is happening. Usage of the term by education academics however seems to be getting in the way of practitioners and teachers in regard to hearing the central message of the term. Lets gets into more details in this Sample Essay on Neoliberalism in Education.

One of the most cited definitions of the term neoliberalism is that by Paul Treanor, “Neoliberalism is a philosophy in which the existence and operation of a market are valued in themselves, separately from any previous relationship with the production of goods and services”.

Neoliberals fight for the privatization of social goods and the withdrawal of the government from providing social welfare on the basis that competitive markets are the most efficient and effective. Public education has come under great assault by a host of economic, religious, political and even ideological fundamentalists. However, the attack that is most serious and which threatens the entire system is that waged by neoliberalism advocates.

The focus of these advocates is narrowly aimed at memorization drills, high stakes testing and traditional texts. At the center of the approach though is the aggressive attempt of disinvesting in public schools and instead, replacing them with charter schools. There are calls to remove federal and state governments from the public education sector completely in order to ensure education is more organized and administered by forces that are market driven.


This would then mean that schools would become another simple corporate asset that is bundled in default credit swaps and valuable for their trade value and exchange rate on the open market.

Higher education is also affected by neoliberalism. States are withdrawing from funding public universities leading to a drop in the contribution made by states towards the operating expenses. As a result of the withdrawal, the colleges/universities respond by:

  • Increasing tuition this passing costs burden to students who then become dent holders and consumer instead of beneficiaries of enlightenment
  • Enter into research partnerships with industries and court the danger of turning pursuit of truth into pursuit of profits
  • Hire a large and larger number of part time, short term adjuncts who as members of a disposable and transient workforce are not in a position to challenge the practices of the university or even agitate for academies committed to democracy realization rather than goals that are monetary driven.

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