Breathing Spaces in Neoliberal Places: An Essay Review of Peter Taubman´s Teaching By Numbers

Debbie Sonu


In 2009, Peter Taubman published Teaching By Numbers: Deconstructing the Discourse of Standards and Accountability in Education. Since that time his meticulous and detailed analysis of neoliberal policies and practices in the field of education continues to gain explanatory momentum. For those concerned with private venturing into public education, this book methodically maps out key players and provides substantial discussion on their tactics for takeover. It delves into language and ideological persuasion yet remains grounded within articulations of law, policy, and district mandates. Committed to the welfare of teachers and students, Taubman asks how systems of control and surveillance have become accepted, even invited, into classroom work, and by doing so utilizes his expertise in psychoanalytic theory to frame an understanding of complicity and resistance. This essay presents a discussion of Taubman's work while intermittently drawing from cases around the world in which teachers are carving breathing spaces for resistance.

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

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