The Privatization of Childhood
By MEGAN ERICKSON
How austerity and education reform have segregated American schools like never beforeâ€“and what to do about it.
Publication: September 8, 2015
Paperback, 230 pages
Class War is available for excerpt.
Megan Erickson is available for interview.
"Informed by her own experiences in the classroom, Erickson shares her outrage over the disparities between the haves and the rest but with a clear-eyed analysis. A counterweight to â€œreformersâ€ whose anti-union, corporatization of education threatens the very tenets of our democratic society." â€“Annette Fuentes, journalist and author of Lockdown High: When the Schoolhouse Becomes a Jailhouse
"Megan Erickson knows the classroom is not a solvent for class society. But she remembers that it can be about something more than class reproduction. There may be no more trustworthy a guide to schooling in capitalist America than this book." â€“Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin and Fear: The History of a Political Idea
"Cogently written and with a far-ranging, sharp analysis â€¦ Anyone who wants to understand the relationship between educational inequality and the privatization of public education should read this book!" â€“Wayne Au, Associate Professor in the School of Educational Studies, University of Washington Bothell, editor of Rethinking Schools and author of Unequal By Design: High-Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality
â€œMegan Erickson deftly skewers neoliberal myths about education and child-rearing in this must-read book, which will be richly informative even to readers who are already critical of the status quo. Erickson is one of the most indispensable thinkers on this subject.â€ â€“Liza Featherstone, journalist and author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart and Students Against Sweatshops: The Making of a Movement
What is at stake when some American children go to school hungry and others go to school in $1,000 Bugaboo strollers? Class War argues that under free-market capitalism, life paths prescribed by class but framed as parental choicesâ€”public or private, gifted & talented, general or special educationâ€”segregate American children from birth through adolescence, and into adulthood, as never before.
In an age of austerity, an elite class of corporate education reformers has found new ways to transfer the costs of raising children to families. Although public schools are tasked with providing childcare, job training, meals and social services for low-income children, their funding is being drastically cut; meanwhile, private schools promise to nurture well-rounded individuals for families able to afford the $40,000 a year tuition. Drawing from Ericksonâ€™s own experience as a teacher in the New York City school system, Class War shows how education has been transformed into a competitive â€œhunger games" for the resources and social connections required for economic success.
Megan Erickson is an editor at Jacobin magazine and coordinator of early childhood and youth programs at the YMCA. She was formerly an editor and blogger at Big Think, and has taught in both public and private schools in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn.
Class War is part of Verso's Jacobin series â€“ short, radical, punchy books published in collaboration with Jacobin magazine.
Since 2011, Jacobin has quickly gained a high level of cultural influence, with 750,000 hits per month, 15,000 print subscribers, and profiles in the New York Times and Rolling Stone.
The series interrogate politics, economics, and culture from a socialist perspective, as an avenue to radical political practice. The books offer critical analysis and engagement with the history and ideas of the Left in an accessible format.
â€œThe new sensation of literary New York.â€ â€”Guardian
â€œJacobin...has certainly been an improbable hit, buoyed by the radical stirrings of the Occupy movement and a bitingly satirical but serious-minded style. Since its debut in September 2010 it has attracted nearly 2,000 print and digital subscribers, some 250,000 Web hits a month, regular name-checks from prominent bloggers, and book deals from two New York publishers.â€ â€”New York Times
Previous titles in the series include Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work by Melissa Gira Grant, Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity by Micah Uetricht, Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis by Benjamin Kunkel, and The New Prophets of Capital by Nicole Aschoff.
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