Special Series E3: Public Conversations About Privatization-Resistance

Special Series E3: Public Conversations About Privatization-Resistance

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 third episode of the special series we speak to Beyhan Farhadi (OISE), Justin Fraser (P4PE), and E. Wayne Ross (UBC) about resistance. That is, the moves to resist the undermining and privatization of public education across Canada.

Dr. Beyhan Farhadi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education at OISE, U of T. Prior to joining the faculty at OISE, Dr. Farhadi was the Research Cluster Lead for Community Engagement and Public Scholarship at the Institute for Research on Digital Literacies at York University and a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario. She was also a secondary teacher with the Toronto District School Board and a community organizer with Scarborough Families for Public Education. Her research focuses on the impact of online learning on educational equity in Ontario and, more recently, Alberta. Dr. Farhadi’s lead-authored publications in The Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy (2022) and The Journal for Teaching and Learning (2021) reflect a commitment to open access scholarship and meaningful engagement with education stakeholders. She also mobilizes knowledge for the public in sole-authored publications for the Broadbent Centre and The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, as well as The Conversation, Canada, and First Policy Response at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Justin D. Fraser (he/him) is an educator, activist, musician, and graduate student from Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a public school teacher specializing in popular music education, he has firsthand experience with neoliberal education reforms such as funding cuts, “back-to-basics” curricular emphases, and the marketization of arts education. Fraser is a founding member of People for Public Ed, a Manitoba-based community group dedicated to promoting consistent and substantive public funding for public education, and is committed to ensuring that all students in Manitoba have equitable access to high quality public education. Specifically, his work with PfPE includes community organizing, outreach, writing, and popular education. Finally, as a graduate student at the University of Manitoba, Fraser’s research interests include the impacts of neoliberal education reforms on public education as well as designing and facilitating more equitable and just models of popular music education within a critical education paradigm.

E. Wayne Ross, PhD is Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at The University of British Columbia. His research and teaching focus on the role of curriculum and teaching in building democratic communities that are positioned to challenge the priorities and interests of neoliberal capitalism as manifest in educational and social policies that shape both formal and informal education experiences. His work includes books such as Neoliberalism and Education, Battleground Schools, Working for Social Justice Inside and Outside the Classroom, Defending Public Schools (4 Vols.) as well as numerous articles in scholarly journals and popular media on the global education reform movement in North America. He is a scholar-activist and organizer having co-founded the Rouge Forum, Institute for Public Education/British Columbia and Institute for Critical Education Studies, the latter publishes the academic journals Critical Education and Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor.

Farhadi, B. (2019). “ The Sky’s the Limit”: On the Impossible Promise of e-Learning in the Toronto District School Board. University of Toronto (Canada).https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/97442/1/Farhadi_Beyhan_%20_201911_PhD_thesis.pdf

Farhadi, B., & Winton, S. (2021). Building a Plane While Flying: Crisis Policy Enactment during COVID-19 in Alberta Secondary Schools. Journal of Teaching and Learning, 15(2), 117–132.https://jtl.uwindsor.ca/index.php/jtl/article/view/6725

Fraser, J.D. (2023,June 13).Toward criticality: Popular music education for social justice. Association for Popular Music Education. https://www.popularmusiceducation.org/blog/toward-criticality-popular-music-ed ucation-for-social-justice/

Moore, S.D.M., & Fraser, J.D. (2022, September 17).Playing politics with public education. People for Public Education.https://bit.ly/3DWgPq4

Moore, S.D.M., Fraser, J.D.,& Janzen, M. (2022, December 6). Crowdfunding For Public education? Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. http://policyx.ca/2022/12/06/crowd-funding-for-public-education/

Gibson, R., Queen, G., Ross, E.W., & Vinson, K. (2008). The Rouge Forum. In D. Hill (Ed.), Contesting neoliberal education: Public resistance and collective advance (pp. 110-135). Routledge.https://www.routledge.com/Contesting-Neoliberal-Education-Public-Resistance-and-Collective-Advance/Hill/p/book/9780415507103

Ross, E. W. (2015). Teaching for Change: Social Education and Critical Knowledge of Everyday Life. In S. Totten (Ed.), The importance of teaching social issues: Our pedagogical creeds (pp. 141-146). Routledge.https://www.routledge.com/The-Importance-of-Teaching-Social-Issues-Our-Pedagogical-Creeds/Totten/p/book/9781138788534

Ross, E. W. (2020). Why Are Things As They Are? Action Research and the Transformation of Work and Education in the Neoliberal Age. The Canadian Journal of Action Research, 21(1), Article 1. https://doi.org/10.33524/cjar.v21i1.515

Ross, E. W., & Gibson, R. J. (2007). Neoliberalism and education reform. Hampton Press Cresskill, NJ.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265050471_Neoliberalism_and_Education_Reform

Ross, E. W., & Vinson, K. D. (2013). Resisting neoliberal education reform: Insurrectionist pedagogies and the pursuit of dangerous citizenship. Cultural Logic: A Journal of Marxist Theory & Practice, 20, 17-45.


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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.