ABSTRACT

Educational debates occur without serious attention to their direct connection to worldwide economic restructuring, the increasing polarization of wealth, and the subsequent racialization of populations, especially immigrant populations that may or may not be assimilating as predicted or even desired (Darder, 2002). These political and ideological narratives play out in national and international contexts that intensify in school spaces which are often microcosms of larger societal structures. Critical theory provides a discourse and mode of critique for deepening our understanding of the nature and function of schooling, and provides modes of analysis that help us uncover the ideologies and interests embedded in educational policies that inform educational frameworks, curricula and instruction, and school-based interactions that take place in the everyday business of schooling (Giroux, 1983a). For example, globalization and glocalization have become buzz words for economic imperialism and its ruthless mechanisms to maximize capital accumulation (McChesney, 1999). Yet, schools play an important role in the process of capital accumulation as they organize student populations in economic hierarchy and officially carry out an unfair system of meritocracy that ultimately functions to legitimate the ideological formation necessary for the reproduction of inequality (Apple, 1995). Therefore, how educational frameworks are taken up and implemented matters as schools are not just instructional sites, but rather “arenas of contestation and struggle among differentially empowered cultural and economic groups” (Giroux, 1983a, p. 74).