Special Series E1: Public Conversations About Privatization-Ideological Motivations

Special Series E1: Public Conversations About Privatization-Ideological Motivations

Through this four episode special series of Public Good, Stephen and Shannon speak to presenters from a SSHRC funded symposium, Public Conversations About Privatization: Rejecting the Marketization of Public School Systems in Canada. The symposium, held on May 26 & 27th, 2023, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), brought together academics, educators, activists and community groups from across Canada to discuss: a) the ideological motivations of educational reforms; b) the way these reforms are manifesting “uniquely” in each province; and c) the political and community resistance to the reforms. The two-day symposium included ten thought provoking presentations on the three symposium themes (ideological motivations, provincial privatization, resistance). Through this special podcast series, we will speak to presenters from within each theme. In this first episode of the special series we speak to Ee-Seul Yoon (U of M), Erika Shaker (CCPA), Pamela Rogers (CTF/FCE) and Nichole Grant (CTF/FCE) about the ideological motivations of this reform.

Dr. Ee-Seul Yoon’s scholarship focuses on how market-based educational reforms — including choice, competition, entrepreneurship, and deregulation — reproduce existing power structures based on social class, race, and community wealth, which are entrenched in residential segregation because of colonial racism and neoliberalism. Dr. Yoon has published in the top journals in the field, and their research highlights how the current reforms of school marketization (re)produce inequitable ideologies, structures, and practices. Dr. Yoon’s ground-breaking critical spatial research is known for illuminating the impact of educational marketization on the differentiated and unequal educational opportunities, experiences, and outcomes of diverse learners and families. In a recent collaboration with Dr. Lyn Daniels, Director of Instruction, Aboriginal Learning (BC), they show that Indigenous families’ school choice is economically and spatially constrained in the face of colonial racism; therefore, school choice policy needs to change in order to reduce this type of systematic and racial inequity. https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=xDUaNrcAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

Since 1997, Erika Shaker has directed the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ (CCPA) Education Project, established to monitor corporate intrusion in public education. In 2000 she became co-editor of the popular education journal Our Schools / Our Selves, established in 1987, and in 2020 Erika became director of the CCPA’s National Office. She writes, researches and speaks on a wide variety of education issues including privatization and commercialism, inequality, standardization and social justice. Erika has a BA in History from McGill, and an MA from the University of Guelph in English with a focus on critical literary theory. Her dissertation, completed in 1995/96, was on the commercialization of curriculum in Ontario. https://policyalternatives.ca/authors/erika-shaker

Pamela Rogers is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa, and CTF/FCE Principal Investigator on educator mental health research funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Her research focuses on discursive policy formations and teachers’ lived experiences in neoliberal educational governance structures. She has publications in the Canadian Journal of Education, Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, and Historical Encounters, focusing on anti-oppressive education, critical historical consciousness, and understanding cultural productions of history in public spaces. Pamela is an independent consultant and public academic who has written articles for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives journal, Our Schools/Our Selves, the New Brunswick Media Co-op, and CTF/FCE’s online blog, Perspectives. As a former high school social studies teacher from Nova Scotia, Pamela is interested in improving workplace conditions and building community alliances to support public school educators. https://www.ctf-fce.ca/authors/pamela-rogers-2/

Nichole Grant currently resides with her family in Ottawa, Ontario, the traditional unceded territories of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Peoples. She is Researcher and Policy Analyst at the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and Part-time Professor with the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Education. Having published in several edited collections, the Canadian Journal of Education, Historical Encounters, and co-edited a collection on radical youth pedagogy (2020, DIO Press), Nichole’s research focuses on anti-oppressive practices and educational policies in Canada, as well as methods of knowledge formation and neoliberalism in everyday spaces. In this work, Nichole looks to understand the interactions of people, places, and histories in these areas through feminist posthumanism, decolonizing, and new materialist approaches. https://www.ctf-fce.ca/authors/nichole-grant/

Episode Resources:
Apple, M. W. (2013). Educating the Right Way: Markets, Standards, God, and Inequality. Routledge.

Courtney, S. J., & Lee-Piggott, R. (2022).Time to turn the tide: Privatization trends in education in the Caribbean. Education International. https://www.ei-ie.org/en/item/26266:time-to-turn-the-tide-privatisation-trends-in-education-in-the-caribbean

Our Schools/Our Selves. (2023, Summer/Fall). Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. https://policyalternatives.ca/our-schoolsour-selves-summerfall-2023

Rogers, P. & Grant, N. (2022, April 23). Policy influencers and privatizing pathways: A tale of organizing to endure [Paper presentation]. American Educational Research Association, SanDiego,

Shaker, E. (2023, June 23). “Parental choice” is a dog-whistle—Let’s recognize it as such. The Monitor. https://monitormag.ca/articles/parental-choice-is-a-dog-whistle-lets-recognize-it-as-such/The Monitor. (2023, August). Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Yoon, E., & Gulson, K. N. (2010). School choice in the stratilingual city of Vancouver. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(6), 703–718. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2010.528871

Yoon, E.-S. (2016). Neoliberal imaginary, school choice, and “new elites” in public secondary schools. Curriculum Inquiry, 46(4), 369–387.

Yoon, E.-S. (2020). School choice research and politics with Pierre Bourdieu: New possibilities. Educational Policy, 34(1), 193–210.

Yoon, E.-S., & Daniels, L. D. (2021). At the margins of Canada: School choice practices of Aboriginal families in a settler-colonial city. Educational policy, 35(7), 1288-1310. https://doi.org/10.1177/0895904819864442

Yoon, E.-S., Lubienski, C., & Lee, J. (2018). The geography of school choice in a city with growing inequality: The case of Vancouver. Journal of Education Policy, 33(2), 279–298.

Yoon, E.-S., & Winton, S. (2020). Multiple privatisations in public education: Issues, theories, and conversations. In Journal of Educational Administration and History (Vol. 52, Issue 1, pp. 1–8). Taylor & Francis.

Zhu X., & Meng, T. (2020). Geographical leadership mobility and policy isomorphism: narrowing the regional inequality of social spending in China. Policy Studies Journal, 48, 806-832.


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Shannon D. M. Moore

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba

Shannon D.M. Moore is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at The University of Manitoba. Prior to joining the faculty, Shannon was a social studies and English teacher in the public school system in British Columbia for 19 years. Shannon is a public education advocate, and a founding member of People for Public Education Manitoba (@PublicEdMB). Moore’s research interests include media and digital literacies in the social studies classroom, the impacts of online learning on teachers and teaching, and the impacts of neoliberalism on public education.

Stephen Hurley

Chief Catalyst voicEd Radio Canada

Stephen Hurley has spent nearly 40 years as an educator. He has experience as a classroom teacher, a curriculum consultant, a teacher educator and a policy observer. As the founder and chief catalyst at voicEd Radio, Hurley is passionate about nurturing stronger relationships between education research, practice and policy.