Read that meme again: Only a crisis actual or perceived produces real change. That is the heart of global education reforms – Creating a perception.
Below is a hard-hitting and disturbing documentary, outlining how disasters are constructed or manipulated to justify far-reaching reforms and economic take-overs. I will warn you, it is not for the faint hearted but is well worth watching. But first, an outline of how the Shock Doctrine applies to schools.
How does The Shock Doctrine play out in education?
- New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened….
- Rhetoric about schools failing
- Mainstream media repeats and repeats the claims, ignoring communities and academics who argue differently
- A crisis is made
- Public schools are closed
- Charter schools open in their place
- The move from public to privatised education is complete.
And in New Zealand?
- Create a crisis that kids are being failed.
- Mainstream media repeats and repeats the claims, manufacturing a crisis
- Bring in students testing so that the levels can be manipulated to support current plans (look the tests show ‘they’ the teachers are failing the students, look the tests show ‘we’ the government are improving things)
- Oust and undermine anyone who resists government plans
- Remove or ignore community voices
- Take over the teachers’ professional body – give them no representation
- Destabilise teachers’ jobs by bringing in test-based pay and allowing untrained teachers
- Close public schools
- Open charter schools
Disaster Capitalism – shock and reform
So, here is the documentary, The Shock Doctrine. Again, I warn you, it is very hard hitting.
If you watch, pay close attention to the beliefs of Milton Friedman and the then Education Minister, Margaret Thatcher, as a lot can be understood about what is happening right now in education by analysing their views and actions.
About The Shock Doctrine, by Naomi Klein
The Shock Doctrine book and documentary: an investigation of disaster capitalism, based on Naomi Klein’s proposition that neo-liberal capitalism feeds on natural disasters, war and terror to establish its dominance.
Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism — the rapid-fire corporate re-engineering of societies still reeling from shock — did not begin with September 11, 2001.
The films traces its origins back fifty years, to the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman, which produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today.
New, surprising connections are drawn between economic policy, shock and awe warfare and covert CIA-funded experiments in electroshock and sensory deprivation in the 1950s, research that helped write the torture manuals used today in Guantanamo Bay.
The Shock Doctrine follows the application of these ideas through our contemporary history, showing in riveting detail how well-known events of the recent past have been deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine, among them: Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.