Hursh Authors Chapter in Landmark Handbook on Social Justice

handbook of social justice

David Hursh, associate professor in teaching and curriculum, contributed a chapter, "Beyond the Justice of the Market: Combating Neoliberal Discourse and Promoting Democracy and Economic Equality," in the Handbook of Social Justice in Education (Routledge, 2008), edited by William Ayers, Therese Quinn, and David Stovall.

With 52 chapters from leading scholars in education, including Zeus Leonardo, Cris Mayo, Ray McDermott, Christine Sleeter, Julio Cammarota, and Augustine Romero, the Handbook is the first comprehensive and up-to-date review of social justice in education that looks at education theory, research, and practice from multiple perspectives.

Hursh’s chapter examines the ongoing debates over the purposes and organization of education and the shift from social democratic liberalism represented by the policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt to the neoliberal policies most recently promoted by George W. Bush. Roosevelt argued that social justice could be achieved if both the government and civil society worked to provide jobs, housing, health care, and free education. In contrast, the Bush administration worked to privatize and introduce competitive markets into all aspects of society, including social security, health care, and education. In his chapter, Hursh argues for the need to repudiate the current neoliberal approach and reaffirm the principles espoused by Roosevelt. He also emphasizes the importance of engaging in discussions centered on our basic rights, such as health care or affordable postsecondary education, and the government’s role in providing them.

Over the past decade, Hursh has been deeply involved in examining the impetus behind the neoliberal emphasis on high-stakes testing, accountability, markets and privatization. His articles on education policy, curriculum, and teaching have appeared in numerous journals, including American Education Research Journal, Educational Researcher, British Educational Research Journal, and Policy Futures in Education. His most recent book, High-Stakes Testing and the Decline of Teaching and Learning: The Real Crisis in Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), examines why New York State and the federal government have imposed increased testing and other regressive reforms on students and teachers and what educators, parents, and community members can do to improve schools. Since its publication, he has organized and presented at numerous local, national, and international conferences on the politics of high-stakes testing and has been widely quoted in local, regional, and national media. He also co-founded The Coalition for Common Sense in Education, a group advocating for alternatives to high-stakes testing.

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