The Dominant Ideologies Shaping Educational Policies Politics Essay

23 Mar 2015

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An ideology that combines all and provides relevance to the developmental needs of the people; is an instrument of society development ideology that is appropriate and sensitive to the peculiar needs of the people, therefore these ideologies might resolve the imbalances in societies (Giroux and McLaren 1989).

Ordinarily, the mention of ideology takes everyone's mind to capitalism or socialism, with much of the British and European media and political agenda focused on 'migration' and the removal of citizenship from the national curriculum, little attention has been given to 'multicultural education' in comparison. For many in the United Kingdom (UK), multicultural and citizenship may seem unproblematic; it is rarely reported outside the educational sphere and recently attracts limited political attention.

However, in this essay I will explore the increasing drive for the global capitalist market, incepted in western society but now common in the diaspora, which has at its core in the postcolonial notion of establishing western values. The ever increasing globalisation of education is leading to the homogenisation of cultural consumption across transnational boundaries. Despite the British empires historic links with the commonwealth, including America (super power) we are witnessing global tendencies from Asian nations (India and China) that are simultaneously complementary and contradictory as they become economic giants on their own grounds; It also erases the interconnections between the accumulation of wealth and the development of the former colonial powers and the impoverishment of the former colonies.

In this essay I will consider some of the core ideology of ethnicity, identity, race in a cultural hybridity and will argue that the increasing globalisation of education has been furthered through a variety of complex processes, both local and global, that have been strategised by nationalism as a political ideology to control and maintain the labour market, through the context of community formation, multiculturalism, civil society, equal opportunities and social rights, I will explain how the ideology of language of the community, citizenship assumed to give ethic groups and the working class a voice, has been refashioned to appeal to nationalist through the inequalities in education, gender and the rhetoric of a global cultural identity and a 'sense of belonging' which is becoming imperative to the second and third generation ethnic groups due to their experiences of marginalisation in British culture. I will show how different ideologies affect critical pedagogy in global and local education, how this in turn contributes to the limitations in the use of critical thinking skills within education. I will analyse the core principles of postmodernism by unravelling the factors that seem to shape educational policies. The theoretical cultural and social debate will be on the values, knowledge, belief systems across the capitalist local and global markets. The model citizenship as the legal concept of citizenship, can be contestable the need to demand rights are not yet embedded in the capitalist market structure.

This essay is thus framed by resurgent British nationalisms nurtured by an antagonistic apathy towards histories and legacies of an empire and a sudden, sharper, more urgent focus within this multidisciplinary area on counterterrorism, criminalisation, institutional racism, and Black women as a political (all non-white are classified as black). Bell Hooks states:

" that we need a global political consciousness or awareness of the local economic, political, social and cultural conditions that shape the lives of women in different parts of the world" (Hooks, B : 1990).

When exploring multicultural ideologies and the strands of race, culture, gender, citizenship it is important to understand its concept and how it differs from ethnicity and the strands used within the global and local educational system. Ethnicity is often confused with the placement of ones origin, particularly by those in west; therefore it is important to provide a distinction at this stage. What the term multiculturalism or the ideology of mass culture are the collective 'forms of sociality which give rise to instrumental concepts', in particular the way society views and see's the world and how the dominant cultures are deemed to be socially necessary (Calhoun.et el 1999: Hill 2003).

In these themes of racial and social class as well as the insidious themes of gender and language that already exist in multiculturalism are brought together in a new repressive conception of postmodernism, neo-liberal capitalism, nation state formation, education and the economic sector . These aspects are then combined together in a postmodernist narrative that attempts to create a "re-structuring of education that has taken place under pressure from local and international capitalist organisations and compliant governments". A new world- space has commenced based on the politically effective conception of worldwide restructuring of education systems as part of "the ideological and policy offensive by neo-liberal Capital" (Hill 2003). Consequently, the privatisation of public and the introduction of private local and global agencies to services can be termed as authoritarian can lead to the 'destabilisation of non- conforming' local authorities and governments (ibid), and for that reason they are also referred to as 'the armed cavalries of the USA' or 'its allies and surrogates' (ibid). This can be problematic for some. Dave Hill argues that it is inappropriate to create such 'competitiveness' and power within social institution especially as they do not share all the universal attributes to the more capitalist economy of growth, selection, exclusion and inequalities (ibid). He further states that they would seem better described as expressions of social and national conflict, where the cultural and national identities are heavily informed by a Globally shared educational system or its portrayal of an 'institution that in fact serves the interests of a narrow class of people but appears to serve the interests of everyone' (Hill p. 12). Therefore I would agree that with its ideas of identity, liberation, culture, community, language, citizenships, gender, nation and race, the pursuit of an immigration quota based on status and monetary asserts deemed as the points system to curtail the immigrant population, shows the need for reform on the illusion of the welfare, equal opportunity and free society we claim to be. Inequalities have increased which have an effect on the gendered, class and racial attitudes towards the working class, ethnic minorities and women. The global neo-liberalism has resulted in creating a two tier society of have and have not's as those with the cultural and economic capital have social mobility and good education which in turn creates an automatic climb up the hierarchy ladder. Furthermore, the eradication of the national curriculum has led to several political powers imposing their own ideologies in education. As Hicks explains neoliberal and neoconservative ideologies in western education has seen the onslaughts of failing schools, the terminology of 'bad teachers' being vocalised in all arenas, nonetheless the undermining of teachers as educators to challenge thinking has also changed (Not known p4). There is less autonomy and more pupil dependence. However, for the purposes of this essay, I see the conflation of the terms of multicultural, intercultural, assimilation, integration and nationalism as models problematic within the education system, and therefore I might interchange how they are used.

Ideologies can be classified as a set ideas produced by the dominant class of society to the all the members of society. Ideologies are mainly applied to matters in the public domain and as such are central to politics. Which implies the dominant factor is the political arena. Marx associated the term with class struggle and domination, Habermas viewed ideology as a space to share and communicate ideas at a grassroots. West and Hall talk about the institutional functioning of cultural politics of difference which can also be aligned with social integration. Ideologies can be implemented on a local or global scale, the basic instigator of political ideologies should be human affairs, which form a series of ideologies. Ideologies encompass the concept of an idea and the only way, this format is evident in political ideologies within the education domain (add example here from edu page). Ideology can also describe the shared beliefs of a nation, especially in Britain today as immigration, nationalism as a political ideology versus multiculturalism, are setting the discourse tone of debate. In social democratic countries the government takes the sole responsibility for regulating political and economic conditions. The political ideologies of social democracy are centre-left of the political spectrum based on progressive, social liberation and social democracy; it can also include democratic socialism, modern liberalism and green politics. Modern liberalism and social democracy are the dominant ideologies within a capitalist global market. A mixed economy encompasses both private enterprise and publicly owned programs of education, health and child care predominant in a welfare state were social rights based on the right to work and a basic standard of living is paramount for all citizens.

Equal rights and opportunity are regulated by government bodies to protect the interest of the labour force and fair market competition, immigration and multiculturalism, I reiterate are dominant discourses. Trevor Philips opposed multiculturalism in British society and instead argued for interculturalism, due to the vast amount of parallel communities in Britain and he argued for inter-culturalism as a means to value polarity and understand other cultures that exist in Britain, because of the existing parallel communities. Philip stated that by ensuring no single identity was predominant, the loose of individual identity will be assimilated into the dominant culture (Baldwin and Rozenberg 2004). West and Hall, talk about cultural policies of difference, how race defines cultural theory, its reflection and how the role of culture can be challenged. But by de- essentialising and understanding the political potential; of British African Caribbean and Asian vernacular cultures can also challenge a national identity, which will further empower the far rights argument for exclusion (Hall 1996). Capitalism spread by social relations in culture and capitalism has ensured the privatisation of every day commodities are now under the private domain for instance water , the rail service and education being represented with the introduction of academies (educational institutions run by private organisations), building school for the future (BSF) based on private funding being matched by local authority monies. Critics of postcolonial theory of politics state how the representation under capitalist hybridity has become commodified, in the conformation hybridity reinforces the context of all cultures are separate then they mix as it deflects attention from real marginalisation of racialised groups, yet under market capitalism hybridity has become commodified and its resistance subsumed. Capitalism attempts to govern the counter narratives of racialised groups by coercing British African Caribbean and Asian cultural producers into producing problematic representations of difference (Hooks 1992).

Within the political realm several parties claim to be progressive the Labour party and currently the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. The avocation of progressive education has been in the fore front of the coalition government. As in the political parties different educational models exist; the human capitalist, progressive, religious and indigenous. I will focus on the human capitalist model. Despite the homogenous ideologies developed under globalisation of education as mainly western culture politically involving only the most powerful nations, this culture production has meant the exclusive domain gives political powers the ability to code and un-code the commercial dimensions of the global market. The notion of numerous, bounded cultures, communities, nationalities and 'races' - reflected in Britain according to the political sphere has become normalised and naturalised. The first definition of culture did not concern itself with politics and the state. In the fifteenth century culture was associated with agriculture and horticulture. However, colonialism became a key point in its political history, a second meaning began to emerge in the sixteenth century as the European expansion went hand in hand with scientific concepts of 'race', reason and development. Many colonised nations threatened and insecure by the economical powerful western nations have continued to reflect the notion of underdevelopment, often with extreme views of 'West is best'. Throughout, the centuries the definition of culture evolved, into the period of enlightenment roughly dated as the seventeenth to the late nineteenth century. Culture was redefined as social development, European society was positioned as the panicle of cultural development and its role was to develop or civilise the rest of the world.

Hill (2003) cites McMurtry (1999) "market model, the so-called free-market model is not a free market at all", like Calhoun et al stated (1992) the free market/free labour market does not exist. Instead we have a 'global corporate market' this model is now predominant in the local and global educational sector.

More recently, the market model's political goals executed through the domination of neo-conservation and neo-liberalism have transformed the parameters in Britain and America and, significantly impacted on how global education in a civil society is organised worldwide. With its slogans of Education, Education, Education, the previous labour party won the election, yet their values under Tony Blair were rooted in neo-conservation as they introduced academies and building schools for the future which are private sector models.

From 1970 the British Conservative government lead by Margaret Thatcher was opposed to the welfare state, its order was to explode the privatisation of 'national assets and deregulate the market to encourage business, which was followed by a the 'changing face of education' (Kymlicka, (2003) Pg. 154 : Hicks 2003).

Both Kymlicka and Hicks provided theoretical insights and made substantial contributions to the political economy in education and the political frameworks of education. Kymlicka dealt with the use of citizens to implement principles of the multicultural state away from the dominant national group, Hicks showed the contribution of neoliberal and neoconservative in bringing out the changes within the education sector. Hicks proposed an interrogation of these two ideologies in education and the effect on society whereas Kymlicka focused on the elimination of assimilation and exclusionary nation building policies with the introduction of multicultural reforms. Both authors brought out the political ideologies of the global economy as related to education and both authors used theoretical perspectives to highlight their individual insights.

Hicks discussed how values and belief systems can be used to focus on the free market economics as the foundation for a vibrant economy rather than state controlled capitalism. Kymlicka also focused on cultural dimensions and politics of communication as the underlying factors for social change. Hicks highlighted the conflicts of interest that are seen in citizenship and education with the new conservative traditional curriculum. He provided different critical perspectives and arguments on various dimensions of politics, sociology and cultural anthropology within the context of preconceived ideologies and how they shape the nature of education according to the skills gained to reinforce the global market. Hicks looked at attempts to transform the enterprise culture with radical ideologies such futures and sustainability school, as he saw the contradiction in the political ideologies which essentially use the state to subdue valuable educational choices to the masses. (Hicks pp3-6).

Both authors used a wide range of social and political dimensions in explaining their viewpoints and whereas Hicks analyses brings out the relationship between capitalism, globalisation and nationalism, Kymlicka focused on capital and global economy and its relationship with citizenship and multicultural societies. Both showed how strategies and politics are set up at the centre of profits and economic pursuits. Hicks and Kymlicka highlighted the economic impact of neo-liberal and neo-conservatism and offered substantial analysis of the role capitalist economies, market forces, past historical injustices, multiculturalism and politics in the global culture of education aimed at all citizens and not just the dominant group (Kymlicka, (2003) Pg. 154 : Hicks 2003).

One of the key elements of critical thinking skills in education has been eradicated by the dominance of the prescribed national curriculum and the political pressure to achieve outstanding results. Hill (2003) states how "Neo-liberal policies both in the UK and globally have resulted in a loss of Equity, Economic and Social Justice, of Democracy and democratic accountability, critical thought within a culture of performativity" In this part of the essay I will focus on challenges faced by educators when introducing critical thinking skills.

Although not the only factor in this essay critical theory represents a particular ideology of independent thinking that aims to give citizens the ability to function without being consistently herded like cattle by the political powers. Hill (2003) states, Hayek liberal theory was aimed to show that the labour market needs were inferior as opposed to the superiority of the ruling classes. This was facilitated through the age of neo-liberalism and Thatcherite polity an era where the rights of the workers were slowly being eroded, such as teacher's pensions, as a more business like language is being implemented in education.

"As well as the needs of the economy dictating the principal aims of school education, the world of business is also to supply a model of how it is to be provided and managed. Suppression of oppositional critical thought and much autonomous thought and education.

"But education is not a commodity, to be bought and sold. One can buy the means to an education, but not the hard graft of autonomous learning itself" (Hicks 2003).

Little attention has been given to critical thinking within the state sector of education because of the political implications, however in the aftermath of all the global unrest and the media's concentration on Africa and Middle Eastern unrest, the British public most not fail to realise the power of this universal trend of political control. The critical thinkers and radical theorist did not have far to look to find a basis for their theories, in the writings of intellectuals such as Paulo Freire, Hicks and Hooks were the allusions to race and critical thinking merge, however, it was in the writings of McLaren and Baltodano that support the argument for critical thinking and was based primarily on reclaiming schools, teacher education and the advantages to reclaiming schools determined social transformation in conservative capitalist times and can be accomplished by parental, students and communities. This ideology of critical thinking can act as a foundation for an inclusive British society and would foster social justice and pride in multicultural identity, but also shape the political culture of identity in Britain.

As Hooks states identity constitution is always based on excluding something and establishing a hierarchy 'divide and rule'. Therefore, the increasing appeal for social justice in pedagogical practices in a multicultural society can be understood through the use of reflection (blooms taxonomy targets only the more able) and questioning skills, it can be understood simply as a desire for many to challenge the local government and be informed about equality, economic, social justice and claim their rights which have been denied them. The use of citizenship in education was a good model, in the new Conservative government (coalition of liberal's) this has been eradicated? However, it is clear that this authoritarian government have chosen to deny the British education system and general public a voice and an opportunity to think as individuals and by articulating (McLaren and Baltodano (2000).

Conclusion

It is relevant to look at the political ideologies, the local and global implications of control and the ethical issues that arise from the use of neo-conservative, neo-liberal ideologies and how it has reinforced pre conceived ideologies of the other. The use of critical thinking in a multicultural model can bring a new meaning to economic endeavours in an emergent new global economic order.

The use of questioning can truly become the educational development from diverse voices under widely different educational contexts. The underdevelopment of culture and identity politics in a multicultural society can lead through the implementation of critical thinking skills aimed at social and economic development. As mentioned earlier, the notion of critical pedagogy can be achieved by changing the political ideologies of the western assumption of control over the labour market and the utilisation of education to drive the ideologies which reinforce international hierarchies of power in education, because the concepts of a critical cultural worker, with critical transformative intellectual and revolutionary pedagogy, can extend the resistance to economic, social injustice and oppression. This investment in education is paramount and will ensure both the sustainability as well as the longevity of the education system as an independent entity from political ideologies and policies. The institutions of higher education promote a strong and well trained workforce for the economic sector, yet students of British African Caribbean and Asian origin are still being marginalised as the ideology of equal opportunity, and reveal these "institutions and agencies are implicated in reproducing ethnic labour at the lower rungs of the socio-economic formation" ( Brah 1996).

Current issues regarding the definition of a multicultural society encompass the debate on culture and community, histories of migration, immigration and the race relations paradigms, culture, ethnicity and cultural identities of community.

However the historic problems addressing diversity in Britain, America, Europe

Oceanic and postcolonial nations must take into account the existing post-

colonial administrative structures, because this notions of the primitive are

inseparable from the nation, the modern civilization, scientific ideas of racial

difference and the grouping of people in the United Kingdom and the West have

lead to further constraints for third and fourth generation ethnic minorities.

The current policies need to take into account not only the national indigenous

population's views but also individual cultural variations, for instance the

media's portrayal of Africa as a starving continent the distinction of difference

no country is defined in the commentary; similarly the predisposition, personal preferences, cultural and religious considerations are misappropriated yet all cultural values come into existence through discussion in the public and private domain. Alleyne thus argues that the use of this term 'community' reproduces notions of 'race' and importantly ideas of a relatively homogenous, white national community. The notion of community however has been used to create political solidarity amongst different minority collectivises. It was used in the social movements of the sixties and seventies to signify different political communities but has since re-emerged to signify communities bordered by cultural difference. The government subscribes to the notion of equal but distinct cultures and of a core national white community as an important means of governing the population. "Unreflexive notions of community often serve to hide the constructedness of culture, and the culture of community construction "(Alleyne 2002).

Discussing multiculturalism and the philosophy of equality is a wide topic to cover in an educational political domain. Definitions of multiculturalism defer from country to country, especially with the different ethnic mixes and different religious beliefs as these can affect how a group is categorised. The educational background of the individual or the group plays a great part in participation and the access of fundamental rights, an illiterate or migrant parent with limited knowledge of the language of communication will have to be taught practical methods of the education, welfare and political systems as well as the way to demand rights and have political power. In today's world of daily conflicts the quality of life can be hugely enhanced if people fully understand their roles as citizens and challenged the postmodern thinking and the use of essentialism encouraged by postmodernist.

In this world-weary period of pervasive cynicisms, nihilisms, terrorisms, and possible extermination, there is a longing for norms and values that can make a difference, a yearning for principled resistance and struggle that can change our desperate plight.

Cornel West The American Evasion of Philosophy

I reiterate the importance of critical thinking as the language of questioning the language of political challenge in order to share a common political identification as citizens we need to realign more with the social, environmental emotional, moral, cultural and ethical issues as they will balance the core of the capitalist economic market. Closer to home, citizenship was becoming the voice of the youth; with the anticipated reward that it might be the voice of the community as the citizenship test still exist. Then again I can be argumentative and challenge this ideology based on the rights of refugees classified as illegal immigrants and having no rights, especially in light of citizen advice bureau closures and the reduction of legal aid. Therefore for resistance to be effective we all need to be active citizens (activist) in the community and not just our own.



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