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Neoliberalism, COVID, anti-science, and the politics of school reopening

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Published: 2022-03-29

Authors

Kerry Kretchmar

Carroll University

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2806-6066

T. Jameson Brewer

University of North Georgia

Keywords: COVID; school board; neoliberalism; anti-science; schools

Abstract

This paper explores the politicization of school reopenings in two swing states against the backdrop of rising COVID cases, public health warnings, and the hyper-partisan weaponization of “choice” rhetoric by parents to send children back into school. Rhetoric surrounding parental choice partnered with economic considerations placed significant pressure on school boards to navigate their reopening plans from a partisan frame of reference. We explore, compare, and contrast the landscape of school reopening plans in Wisconsin and Georgia, which both served as pivotal states in the contentious 2020 Presidential election. Within each state we consider two districts that are situated in either a more traditionally conservative or liberal environment. Our guiding questions are: (1) How is the conversation about school reopening reflective of politicized and polarized approaches to COVID? and, (2) How are school reopening discussions different in politically liberal and conservative communities?             

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Author Biographies

Kerry Kretchmar

Carroll University

Kerry Kretchmar, Ph.D., is an associate professor of education at Carroll University. Her research examines the impact of market-based reforms on teacher preparation and teaching.

T. Jameson Brewer

University of North Georgia

T. Jameson Brewer, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of social foundations of education at the University of North Georgia. Broadly conceptualized, his research focuses on the impact of privatization and marketization of public education by way of school vouchers, charter schools, alternative teacher certification, and homeschooling. Follow him on Twitter: @tjamesonbrewer

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Published: 2022-03-29

How to Cite

Kretchmar, K., & Brewer, T. J. (2022). Neoliberalism, COVID, anti-science, and the politics of school reopening. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 30, (42). https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.30.6959