Giroux’s article reinforces the notion that the neoliberal society in which we live is diminishing the concept of democracy that we, as Americas, are supposed to stand for. Giroux credits this ideology as the most dangerous of modern times (428). Neoliberalism specifically pushes its ideals on society, while intentionally limiting the possibility for critique. Public goods are quickly diminishing as the private sector is taking over, and these public institutions that once existed were “places and forums where issues of importance to a political community are discussed and debated, and where information is presented that is essential to citizen participation in community life” (428). Without this public sector, critical thinking is weakened, which makes it even more important for us to become ever more critical of society’s function in our lives, and in education, for the specific purpose of this course. Giroux continues on to discuss how education is no longer a public good in America, and even our universities are falling victim to the marketplace rhetoric that defines American life. Higher education has become a forum to improve one’s individual position in the capitalist marketplace, as opposed to a place where one goes to further their education for knowledge’s sake (435).
The purpose of Tuchman’s Wannabe U continues with the threatening theme of neoliberalism in the college and university sphere. Specifically, Tuchman describes the way that state universities sacrifice educational values for neoliberalist market values, in turn attempting to transform their institutions as they fall victim to ratings and financial stresses. In many instances, education in America has become about commoditizing students and investing in financial interests. The notion that “With hard work, anyone can join the ranks of the elite” (4) is prevalent, giving way to the idea that schools can teach kids out of poverty and become part of the competitive goal of elitism. Tuchman notes this theme again and restates the American theme: “Education may enable individual mobility. It may also facilitate industrial growth. An educated workforce serves industry. Industry requires educated and diverse employees, qualified to compete in the global economy” (13). Ultimately, education has become about the capitalist marketplace rather than complying with traditional and democratic educational ideals. With this capitalist takeover, educators are being further pushed out of the decision-making process. The governor appointed many of the trustees at Wannabe U (2). The president of Wannabe U was previously a lawyer, and administrators are negatively viewed as managers (6). The core values of American education as a public institution aimed at creating a democratic population has been overturned by the forceful neoliberal ideology that encourages and enforces privatization and commoditization, while simultaneously instilling individual values of competition and elitism. We must understand these ideas that run our society with a critical lens so that we can try to regain the value of public education and education as a whole.