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The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City

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Urban education and its contexts have changed in powerful ways. Old paradigms are being eclipsed by global forces of privatization and markets and new articulations of race, class, and urban space. These factors and more set the stage for Pauline Lipman's insightful analysis of the relationship between education policy and the neoliberal economic, political, and ideologica Urban education and its contexts have changed in powerful ways. Old paradigms are being eclipsed by global forces of privatization and markets and new articulations of race, class, and urban space. These factors and more set the stage for Pauline Lipman's insightful analysis of the relationship between education policy and the neoliberal economic, political, and ideological processes that are reshaping cities in the United States and around the globe. Using Chicago as a case study of the interconnectedness of neoliberal urban policies on housing, economic development, race, and education, Lipman explores larger implications for equity, justice, and "the right to the city". She draws on scholarship in critical geography, urban sociology and anthropology, education policy, and critical analyses of race. Her synthesis of these lenses gives added weight to her critical appraisal and hope for the future, offering a significant contribution to current arguments about urban schooling and how we think about relations between neoliberal education reforms and the transformation of cities. By examining the cultural politics of why and how these relationships resonate with people's lived experience, Lipman pushes the analysis one step further toward a new educational and social paradigm rooted in radical political and economic democracy.


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Urban education and its contexts have changed in powerful ways. Old paradigms are being eclipsed by global forces of privatization and markets and new articulations of race, class, and urban space. These factors and more set the stage for Pauline Lipman's insightful analysis of the relationship between education policy and the neoliberal economic, political, and ideologica Urban education and its contexts have changed in powerful ways. Old paradigms are being eclipsed by global forces of privatization and markets and new articulations of race, class, and urban space. These factors and more set the stage for Pauline Lipman's insightful analysis of the relationship between education policy and the neoliberal economic, political, and ideological processes that are reshaping cities in the United States and around the globe. Using Chicago as a case study of the interconnectedness of neoliberal urban policies on housing, economic development, race, and education, Lipman explores larger implications for equity, justice, and "the right to the city". She draws on scholarship in critical geography, urban sociology and anthropology, education policy, and critical analyses of race. Her synthesis of these lenses gives added weight to her critical appraisal and hope for the future, offering a significant contribution to current arguments about urban schooling and how we think about relations between neoliberal education reforms and the transformation of cities. By examining the cultural politics of why and how these relationships resonate with people's lived experience, Lipman pushes the analysis one step further toward a new educational and social paradigm rooted in radical political and economic democracy.

30 review for The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bob Simpson

    Pauline Lipman must have been one helluva jigsaw puzzle wiz as a kid, because she can put together the complex puzzle of why a school closing on Chicago's West Side is related to the global securities market as well as the neo-liberal assault on public education nationwide. She sees the how the shattering of city neighborhoods and the closing of neighborhood schools is related to capital accumulation, gentrification and the pathological white supremacy still pushed by an economic elite to seize c Pauline Lipman must have been one helluva jigsaw puzzle wiz as a kid, because she can put together the complex puzzle of why a school closing on Chicago's West Side is related to the global securities market as well as the neo-liberal assault on public education nationwide. She sees the how the shattering of city neighborhoods and the closing of neighborhood schools is related to capital accumulation, gentrification and the pathological white supremacy still pushed by an economic elite to seize control of entire American cities through merciless divide and conquer tactics. She shows how parents, students and teachers make compromises to survive even when they understand the nature of their enemy. She also understands the strengths and weaknesses of the working class resistance movement that seeks an educational system that liberates rather than represses the best of the human spirit. This is not a quick and easy read and if you are looking for simple answers to all of the questions posed, forget it. Pauline is much too smart for that. Instead she points us in the direction of learning through collective struggle and study. Her book is one more guide post along the way, a damned good one, but more need to be constructed. Her book takes us closer to a new educational system within a new society, but the journey is long and time is short. Yes, another world is not only possible, it is necessary.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalia

    I recommend this book to folks who care about cities and education. Pauline Lipman powerfully and succinctly outlines how urban school reform has contributed to the neoliberal agenda to restructure cities in ways that privilege white middle class residents while dis-investing in communities of color. She uses Chicago as her case study, but the story rings true in places like Philadelphia and New Orleans as well, and has often followed Chicago's model of privatization and cuts. I appreciate that I recommend this book to folks who care about cities and education. Pauline Lipman powerfully and succinctly outlines how urban school reform has contributed to the neoliberal agenda to restructure cities in ways that privilege white middle class residents while dis-investing in communities of color. She uses Chicago as her case study, but the story rings true in places like Philadelphia and New Orleans as well, and has often followed Chicago's model of privatization and cuts. I appreciate that Lipman's analysis is situated in history without being overwhelming, and considers the acomplicated dynamics of why certain neoliberal restructurings (e.g. charter schools) may appeal to urban parents and teachers. A great short read that will make you more informed, angry and perhaps a little more hopeful, if only in ability to wage more pointed critiques.

  3. 4 out of 5

    BookLoving

    Lipman discusses the apparent and underlying implications of converting urban schools into charter schools and accentuates the nexus of urban public-school privatization, public housing, race, and socioeconomic status. Lipman seems to thoroughly assess the opinions of teachers, charter school representatives, parents, and students affected by changes in Chicago, and makes a correlation of Chicago’s reform to New Orleans education system modifications brought on by Hurricane Katrina, which gave N Lipman discusses the apparent and underlying implications of converting urban schools into charter schools and accentuates the nexus of urban public-school privatization, public housing, race, and socioeconomic status. Lipman seems to thoroughly assess the opinions of teachers, charter school representatives, parents, and students affected by changes in Chicago, and makes a correlation of Chicago’s reform to New Orleans education system modifications brought on by Hurricane Katrina, which gave New Orleans the ability to initiate rebuilding from a clean educational slate (whether this had positive or negative implications remains to be investigated). Lipman takes a strong approach at advocating for her sense of right against the reform presented by Chicago’s mayor, state and federal representatives, and certain philanthropic organizations pouring millions into charter schools. This book is a great read for educators in rural, urban, and suburban school districts. It helps to know about the education system experiences of areas different from our own. It would serve as an enlightening read for policy makers and philanthropists.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emma Refvem

    Lipman does a great job outlining the ways in which Neoliberal policies are reinforcing structural inequalities and negatively impacting education in the US. She does a better job outlining the problems than providing solutions, but I didn’t really expect many solutions to be honest. I read this to hopefully inform my future research even though it is more ed policy focused than what I will probably end up doing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shameka

    Read it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    Lipman uses her final chapter to summarize her main points about neoliberalism and the eminent demise it will have on society. She re-iterates that African Americans and other minority groups (race, culture, and gender-based) have been marginalized while those in a very small percentage of at the top have gained exponential wealth and power. She re-states that education is currently the breeding ground for a neoliberalist society as schools are constantly being turned over to corporate giants an Lipman uses her final chapter to summarize her main points about neoliberalism and the eminent demise it will have on society. She re-iterates that African Americans and other minority groups (race, culture, and gender-based) have been marginalized while those in a very small percentage of at the top have gained exponential wealth and power. She re-states that education is currently the breeding ground for a neoliberalist society as schools are constantly being turned over to corporate giants and made a for-profit enterprise. The solution she presents includes four, over-simplified, components of participatory democracy: education for full development, equitably funded free public education, and education as a tool for liberation. I agree with many of Lipman's claims throughout the book (see first paragraph of this review), and the ones with which I don't immediately agree I can at least understand her reasoning and research (for the most part). But, her writing is redundant and whine-y throughout. For as much as she complains throughout the entire book, I was disappointed that she did not offer up a more comprehensive (not to mention, realistic) proposed-solution. She spends the first 6 chapters of the book elaborating on the problems of neoliberalism and shoves the blame in many directions. She spends the last, final chapter throwing out some half-baked idealist solutions that would never pan out in reality, at least not without very meticulous and detailed steps for action. I suspect that the reason she did not elaborate on how one would begin to carry out her solution is because she has no idea herself. I agree that her solution would pave way to a sort of utopia, but perhaps she could have focused on one facet of her solution and fleshed it out to form a more pragmatic approach and make her book more worth-while.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alli B

    This book was on track for a 5 star rating up until the last chapter. Lipman does an amazing job of laying out how Chicago has been transformed by a neoliberal agenda from both liberals and conservatives and the consequences of this on the city and on education. The chapter on corporate philanthrophy and general coverage of charter schools and the illusion of "market choice" and "consumerism" in regards to education is particularly compelling. The solution Lipman offers, however, is a bit of a l This book was on track for a 5 star rating up until the last chapter. Lipman does an amazing job of laying out how Chicago has been transformed by a neoliberal agenda from both liberals and conservatives and the consequences of this on the city and on education. The chapter on corporate philanthrophy and general coverage of charter schools and the illusion of "market choice" and "consumerism" in regards to education is particularly compelling. The solution Lipman offers, however, is a bit of a let down. While I agree with her that the United States could benefit from a 21st century version of socialism, I was hoping she had something more inventive up her sleeve. The entire book builds up to this grand solution coming in the last chapter, and I finished the book discouraged that she failed to offer anything particularly pragmatic. Still a good read though!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Anyone who wants to understand more of how are public schools are being turned into competitive businesses at the expense of low-income, impoverished citizens should read this book. It's not an easy read and far too much information to process in one sitting. But it does confirm how our society is moving away from humanism towards corporate greed and elitism. The last chapter does instill a little gleam of hope, but I'm afraid on the whole we have a long way to go.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Lipman's book is a necessary and essential read to understand the philosophy of neoliberalism and how it is driving the narrative of community development, governance, and educational reform. Written in a way that combines critical social geography, urban sociology, transformative pedagogy, and political theory, this is a deep yet accessible field manual for those working toward democratic urban reforms.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    This book is very well-researched and well-assembled. it is a must-read for people who want to understand how education issues fit within a larger institutional scheme.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rhummanee Hang

    Very good for explaining how neoliberalism is affecting current educational reform.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lai

  14. 5 out of 5

    Austin Ferguson

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stina

  16. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Dahn

  17. 4 out of 5

    Judi

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Boselovic

  19. 5 out of 5

    R M Williams

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  21. 4 out of 5

    Allie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erik

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julio Alicea

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy Brown

  26. 4 out of 5

    Evan Taylor

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Richard

  28. 4 out of 5

    Graham Slater

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jada

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather Miller

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