Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Professor Christopher Tienken presented at an international conference on neoliberalism in education.
Christopher Tienken, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Education Leadership, Management, and Policy was an invited speaker at the False Myths of Progress: The Market and Meritocracy in Education conference, hosted by the Trento University School of Law in Trento, Italy, on February 25th. Tienken joined Michael Sandel of Harvard University and Daniel Markovits from Yale University as one of only three professors invited from the United States.
Tienken provided critical commentary on the state of the neoliberal assault on teaching in the United States and some of his observations about the evolution of Italian education policy over the last 10 years. He detailed how neoliberal policymaking has infiltrated all aspects of public school teaching policy and many aspects of everyday practice.
Tienken's presentation drew upon some of the works of Bourdieu, Lyotard, Foucault, and Dewey as he described how the "free market mentality" and meritocracy has encroached on public education and perverted its purpose to one driven primarily by economic value, at the expense of the development of democratic citizenship. Policies that seek to standardize curricula, assessment, and instruction through a system based on scientific management and theory of performativity monitored by high stakes testing and merit pay have undermined teachers' academic freedom and creativity. He urged Italian policy makers and educators not to follow the path of the United States and to keep their public school system for the benefit of the public, not corporations.