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The time has come to overturn neoliberalism’s hold on early childhood education

Blog Editor, IOE Digital4 May 2021

Peter Moss and Guy Roberts-Holmes.

Our last blog highlighted neoliberalism – what it is and where it came from. We argued that it has penetrated all aspects of everyday life, yet many people neither recognise what it is nor understand its huge influence. Education is no exception, as a Canadian course tutor vividly illustrates: ‘My students have asked: “Why should we bother studying this?”; “Why should we bother with neoliberalism when we have to learn how to teach children?”’

Compulsory and higher education have been well served by studies of neoliberalism. They have detailed how this philosophy has circulated since the 1980s via the ‘Global Education Reform Movement’. GERM’s common symptoms have included the spread of market logic, business management models and test-based accountability, and a narrowing of curricula to focus on literacy, numeracy and science.

Less attention has been paid to early childhood education. This is the subject of our newly published book, Neoliberalism and Early Childhood Education: Markets, Imaginaries and Governance. Though (more…)

Neoliberalism: what’s it all about?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital28 April 2021

Peter Moss and Guy Roberts-Holmes.

In his foreword to our new book, Neoliberalism and Early Childhood Education, published today, Professor Stephen Ball offers a stark assessment: ‘neoliberalism now configures great swathes of our daily lives and structures our experience of the world – how we understand the way the world works, how we understand ourselves and others, and how we relate to ourselves and others.’

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were the movement’s standard bearers

It has reached, as we will describe in our next blog, deep into all sectors of education – and far beyond. Whether it’s schools or bus services competing for custom, or the privatization of public utilities and the sub-contracting of public services to big business, or the marginalization of trade unions and the vaunting of a ‘flexible’ labour market, or the turning over of care for older people to private providers, neoliberalism has become the normal backdrop to life, appearing natural and self-evident. How else, we might ask, could things be?

Yet despite its enormous influence on all aspects of our lives, many people today can neither name nor describe (more…)