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Although everyone agrees that globalization is happening, it remains difficult to define. A helpful analysis of globalization is provided here, yet discussions continue about what globalization actually entails. There are many different aspects of globalization that are often analyzed separately yet remain linked in that they affect the dynamics of global relations. These different components of globalization are visually summarized in the following image (taken from File:Globalizationmap.gif

Globalization therefore incorporates many different processes and phenomena that combine to link the world. With modern technology, travel, and trade, rapid globalization continues to be inevitable. However, opinions differ on whether or not globalization is having more positive or negative effects. Most people agree that the costs and benefits of globalization and not spread out evenly, and that developing countries pay more of the costs while developed countries reap more of the benefits. In fact, globalization is amplifying global inequality.

Below are some videos that illustrate different definitions of globalization.

Globalization Illustrated Through Princess Diana's Death

Noam Chomsky Defines and Discusses Globalization

Barack Obama Speaks about the Economic Crisis and the Unequal Benefits of Globalization

Globalization Interpreted as McDonaldization

An important focus for educators is how to adapt the education system to best prepare students for the global future. Also, it is important to be aware of possible infrigements on teacher autonomy that may result from globalization.

What is neoliberalism? – Ross & Gibson

In short, Neoliberalism is global market liberalism and free-trade policies. It is not just an economic theory; it is “a complex of values, ideologies and practices that affect the economic, political and cultural aspects of society.” Neoliberalism can be seen in the growing gap between rich and poor and is imposed by the world’s powerful financial institutions. It is a revival of economic liberalism. It is supported by politicians across the political spectrum and is the “prevailing political economic paradigm.” Although it serves the interests of a small minority, most people see it as benefiting the majority. Criticism is countered by TINA (“there is no alternative”). As a political system, neoliberalism is democracy without teeth. Citizens are distracted by minor issues and vote for parties who support similar pro-business policies. Neoliberalism’s key components are: the rule of the market, deregulation, privatization and individual responsibility (as opposed to “community” or “the common good”).

Neoliberalism and Education

Education is a target! Spending tops $1 trillion across the globe, making it extremely attractive to the corporate world and for the neoliberal project. This can be seen in the No Child Left Behind Act in the US, in efforts to reduce educations costs (closing libraries, increasing class size) and in accountability strategies (mandated testing).

Neoliberalism and Educational Reform in BC

Although the BC economy is booming, the BC Liberal Party has made drastic cuts to public education. While enrolment in public schools has increased, schools have closed, teaching positions, librarians and library funding cut.

Neo-Liberalism Around the World


Neo-Liberalism practiced all around the world, and everywhere does it differently or has started it at different times. For example in Australia, they have been practicing ideas of Neo-liberalism since the 1980’s, in both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. From 1983-1996 the government pursued economic liberalization. The governments that were practicing at this time made quite a few changes, such as privatizing government corporations, they floated the Australian dollar, they deregulated factor markets and also reduced trade protection.


Neoliberal ideas were first implemented in West Germany. Ludwig Erhard, who was a neoliberal economist used the ideas that they had in the 1930's and 1940's and used them to further the development of West Germany and its reconstruction after WWII. They enjoyed using the idea that competition drives economic prosperity, however they were against the idea of a laissez-faire economy because they saw it as a bad idea because the strong would devour the weak in this type of economy, and instead of thriving their economy would crumble without the strong having really any competition. They also supported the creation of a well developed legal system in order to better their society. As Germany became Germany and not West Germany, their ideas were associated with social market economy and ordoliberalism. However, slowly the term neoliberalism disappeared in Germany because they saw the term of a social market economy better fit to their needs and was much more positive.

Globalization & Privatization: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) - Lipman

By Edward Ewacha


The American school system is inherently flawed at a foundational level in that schools are funded through their local property taxes. Beginning in the 1970s as a means to integrate schools based on race, many school districts attempted to 'bus' students to schools in order to ensure an equal distribution of race representation in the school. However, Because of 'white flight' - a phenomena where mainly Caucasian middle and upperclass families fled these city environments to the suburbs to avoid racial integration of the schools - visible minorities were predominantly left in the inner city schools. Subsequently, property values decreased and a large number of struggling families remained in these inner city areas. Because their wages were low, and the property value decreased, school taxes needed to be raised just to fund the basics. As a result, these inner city areas are proportionately taxed higher but receive less funding than the well off schools in the suburbs. It is for this reason a city like Columbus, Ohio can have inner city underfunded schools that exist in squalor conditions with no programs while many suburban schools a few blocks away look like university campuses and offer a multitude of advanced programs for students.

The end product of this racially and economically segregated arrangement is that poorer families, which consist of a number of visible minorities, do not receive an equal education than their privileged suburban Caucasian counterparts. Thus, it is this socioeconomic chasm in the educational system that enables programs like "No Child Left Behind" to become possible in the United States.

No Child Left Behind:

As with many policies, the No Child Left Behind program has great political optics. It has been said that an education levels the playing field for human beings in the world, regardless of our ethnicity or socioeconomic standing. The goal of NCLBis to ensure literacy, math skills and an overall quality education for all students regardless of socioeconomic status therby ensuring that no child gets left behind. However, many argue that this program has ulterior motives that in fact, No Child Left Behind is designed to make schools fail in order to bring in private corporate enterprise. The underlying Neoliberalism belief that propogates the program is that the private sector can do a better and more efficient job than the public sector.

Through a series of standardized tests from grades 3-8, and 10-12, test scores are broken down into subcategories of race, ESL, and special education. Schools in which ANY subgroup does not meet standards set by the program will be punished by progressively more stringent measures. This means if all the Caucasian and hispanic students meet their targets, but the African American children do not, their clas fails regardless of the strides the remainder of the students made - No child left behind. The measures taken against schools include corrective action of the supplemental education services, allowing students to transfer to another school, and finally restructuring of the school (This includes replacing the teaching staff and bringing in private management). Simply put, critics of the program argue that there are too many ways to fail the standards set by the program. As a result, the quality of education and critical thinking decreases because most teachers now teach to the test to ensure their class passes, and thus save their own job.

So what do we get? Less educated students who are now controlled by private enterprise, who may be able to impress their own social or commercial agenda on malleable young minds. A more startling revelation with the program is that the NCLB requires schools to pass student's high-school records to the military, and to give military recruiters access to the same information that colleges get. The implications are obvious. Students who are deemed not to have a future, or become a social hindrance will be lured into the military. With the United States becoming more and more of a world police officer, they will need the human resources to draw on for overseas missions.


Historically, directing children and youths towards a career in military service is not unique. Almost every great civilization studied in our schools since the dawn of time has acted in accordance with these ways. So why is it so unacceptable then to hear that the lone superpower of the world is continuing in this tradition? Why do we protest and caution against such actions? Perhaps it is because we have done such a good job in educating ourselves. Thinking back to the rise of public education, it was the Industrial Revolution and capitalism that led to the widespread creation of educational facilities; developed to ensure society could produce a population capable of continuing the "machine of enterprise." Along the way, however, the masses became too educated. Soon women’s suffrage and civil rights movements occurred paving the way for fundamental changes in society to the likes of which the world had never seen. NCLB represents a step backwards in human history; possibly the right program, but 200 years too late.

"The New Right Agenda and Teacher Resistance in Canadian Education" - Larry Kuehn

by Julia Doetsch

The New Right Agenda

Globalization has affected the educational system by advancing the economic objectives of schooling. Education is now viewed by governments as a means of developing the “human capital” necessary for global economic success. This shift occurred in the United States during the Reagan administration. Prior to Reagan, American educational policy was guided by UNESCO. However, these policies opposed a U.S. hegemony and Reagan therefore moved educational funding to follow the policies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These policies were much more focused on the economic role that education plays in producing human capital.

Similar shifts have been occurring in Canada. As a result, social and cultural aspects of education are being undermined. Larry Kuehn describes this phenomenon as “The New Right Agenda” for education. He describes the four elements of this right-wing force that and provides examples of each with regards to education in British Columbia. He also provides resistance and reclamation as necessary responses to rescue the public, social, and democratic aspects of education.

Four Elements of the New Right Agenda

There are four elements of the right-wing force that is shaping education.

The first is Neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism values the economic market and individualism over government regulated social programs. It operates under the disguise of increasing “flexibly” and “choice” by reducing the size and responsibilities of the government. The result is privatization and deregulation. Examples of neo-liberalism in B.C.’s educational system include government funding cuts to shift fiscal responsibilities to the school level. As a result, schools are turning to fundraising for programs that the government will not finance. Consequently, school programs and teacher resources are being affected by their ability to gather community finances.

The second element is Neo-conservatism. This is the state enforcement of its understanding of morality. It also includes governmental intervention in matters that oppose the state’s moral position on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. An example of Neo-conservatism in B.C. education is the 1970’s Surrey school board’s banning of a slide-tape showing historical examples of racism in the province. The rationale was that discussing racism would promote racism and such topics were thus removed from teaching. Another more recent example of Neo-conservatism in Surrey is the district’s legal battle to disallow books about same-sex parents. This battle cost the district $1 million before being lost in the Supreme Court.

The third element is authoritarianism. This involves an obsession with central goals at the cost of specific community need. Authoritarianism is closely aligned with new managerialism, the final element of the new right agenda. This approach requires using measurable statistics to develop managerial strategies that advance the central goal. For example, standardized testing and comparing school rankings results in extensive monitoring of school activities. Pedagogy and curriculum are not measurable and are therefore not as important as test results and grades data. A local example of authoritarianism and new managerialism is the Fraser Institute’s ranking of schools based on the provincial exam marks of their students. These rankings are then published annually by the Global-CanWest owned newspapers. The result is that certain schools become more valued while pressure mounts for other schools to provide better results. The focus of schooling is thus shifted away from social issues towards measurable goals.

Authoritarianism is closely aligned with new managerialism, the final element of the new right agenda. This approach requires using measurable statistics to develop managerial strategies that advance the central goal. For example, standardized testing and comparing school results result in extensive monitoring of school activities. Pedagogy and curriculum are not measurable and are therefore not as important as test results and grades data.


The result of globalization has been the increased economic aim of education. As Kuehn says, “education is viewed primarily as an economic factor and one of the prime producers of human capital.” As a result, values of democracy and social justice are suffering.

The 2005 B.C. teachers’ strike is an example of resistance to this change. Fellow teachers, from as far away as South Africa, Honduras, Mexico and the United States joined in solidarity to support BC Teachers. These actions also allude to the growing concern that the reduction in negotiating rights of teachers are gradually being eroded on a global scale. Although resistance is important, it must be coupled with collectively redefining what public education should be. The Charter for Public Education Network is one such effort which sees five panelists travelling through the province to collect opinions about the ideals and principles of public education. It is thus only through the processes of resisting and reclaiming can we effectively challenge the New Right Agenda.

Globalization and its effects on Canadian Curriculum

By Edward Ewacha

Social Studies Curriculum

COB data Canada.PNG

The tentacles of Globalization have invaded almost every aspect of Canadian society that a “made in Canada” label has become a selling feature on the products we buy. Economically and socially, globalisation is often painted as a means to sustain an elite minority of Neo-liberals. Foreign corporations have become powerful enough to contest federal governments and Canadian institutions, (UPS suing the Canadian government for subsidizing Canada Post) as a result of economically imposing Free Trade agreements. However, amidst the doom and gloom, there are many benefits that have occurred to Canadian society. One such achievement has to do with Canadian society’s outlook on world affairs and the inclusion of groups who at one point in Canadian history were marginalized. Much of these attitudinal changes can be tied to changes in the Canadian education system, or to be more specific social studies curriculum. Canada is in a unique circumstance in that it has a short history and continues to rely on immigration from all over the world. Under these conditions, the "Canadian Identity" continues to evolve at a quick rate. With ease of transport, Canada emanates the epitome of a globalized geopolitical state. The question becomes, how does the content of our Social Studies curriculum contend with our rapidly evolving identity?

With roots in Postcolonial and Orientalist analysis, academics have vied for changes in the historical perspective and brought forth voices of those who have been traditionally been marginalized or left out of the historical record altogether. Naturally, this agenda has trickled down to secondary curriculum and forcing it to reflect the increasingly diverse social make up of Canadian society and others across the Western world. In short, Canadian curriculum has begun to make strives moving away from a Eurocentric focus to a more culturally encompassing curriculum.

How much Canadian curriculum has evolved, in response to globalization, is evident in a simple comparison between the old British Columbian grade 8 textbook, Patterns of Civilization published in 1984, and the current one Pathways: Civilizations through Time published in 1998. What is of particular interest, in the old textbook, is the shallowness of content regarding non-European civilisations such as the Chinese, Indian, and Arab/Middle Eastern peoples. With approximately 14 years separating the publishing dates, it becomes evident that the content change is a direct reflection in the change of Canada's societal makeup as a result of immigration / globalization. And while European content, as a single category, still outweighs other civilizations, it is amazingly only 6 of 13 chapters! Compare this to Patterns which allots only a mere 2 chapters to China, India, and the Middle East combined! Adding to the mix of the new revised curriculum is one chapter on the African continent and one on Japan. Clearly, as a result of globalization, the Canadian identity is a more diverse and multiethnic one today than it was 14 years ago. And the change in curriculum reflects this change. However, what is more important is the notion that efforts have been made to properly reflect the social fabric of Canada, while encouraging and educating students for the set purpose of creating a closer sense of community within their society.

Social Justice 12 Curriculum

By Edward Ewacha

While traditional Social Studies curriculum has evolved and adapted, albeit in a lethargic manner, to the changing dynamics within Canada, globalization has also sprouted new courses within the BC education system. The newly developed Social Justice 12 course, for example, can be viewed as a product of the increasing effect of globalization on Canadian society. The effects of a shrinking world as a result of mass communication coupled with the ease of travel increases the interaction of individuals of varying cultures on an unprecedented scale in history. As a result, native citizens of Canada need to be educated in knowing how to handle the sensitive dynamics issues involved with residing within a multicultural geopolitical state.

  • Acknowledging Ethno-Cultural Hegemony, Colonialism, and Imperialism

The globalization section within Social explains the notion of hegemony, entitlement, privilege in Canadian society. These terms equate, to many people, a modern day form of cultural imperialism or socioeconomic colonialism. This course is designed to expose students to and help them understand the assumptions and positions of privilege they may hold in society.

  • Identifying and becoming an Agent for Change in Aiding the Marginalized and Vulnerable

In line with the notion of hegemony, students need to understand the vulnerability behind, and the marginalization of particular groups such as aboriginal peoples, refugee, and newly arrived visible minority immigrants. With most new immigrants landing in Canada from non-European (Western) origins, it is important for all students to address the challenges and discriminatory processes that may be set in place, preventing them from ascending up the socioeconomic ladder. In Social Justice, students are encouraged to identify the barriers that are in place to ensure equity and equality and then think about how they might become agents of change in the system. They are also encouraged to think about how they may be able to create or share public space within society for these marginalized groups in order to provide them with some social currency.

Social Justice 12 Links

By Edward Ewacha

Social Justice 12 IRP

Social Justice Teacher Guide Instruction & Assessment Support

Readings on the effects of Globalization on Teacher Autonomy

"Globalization, Professionalization, and Educational Politics in British Columbia" from: Charles S. Ungerleider. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, Issue #9, December 15, 1996

This article concerns the efforts that the BC Teachers Federation have made to create an obstacle against the de-professionalization of teachers in British Columbia; a trend that has begun in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Globalisation, it is argued, will reduce not only teacher autonomy in the schools, but make the standardization and certification of teachers possibly follow an international criteria rather than be determined within the province.

"Globalization and Curriculum Studies: Tensions, Challenges, and Possibilities" from Wang Hongyu. Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies Oklahoma State University.

This article discusses the internationalization of school curriculum as a response to Globalization. The author defines internationalization as an alternative to the imperialistic and neo-colonialist conceptions that Globalization implies. Internationalization as a concept supports the decentring of both the local/national and the global through a focus on interaction and relationship that leads to transformation of both locality and globalization. Furthermore, Globalization may in fact lead to a collaboration and further development of concepts and technologies.

The Informal Education Homepage

Based out of the UK, this website is produced by educators regarding informal education, social justice issues, and lifelong learning.

Education Around the World

By Alexa Ludeman

In 2006 the teachers of Oaxaca Mexico went on strike for increased funding of the education system. They wanted better wages and more resources for their students. The film 'Land Rain and Fire' chronicles the evolution of the teachers strike into a general strike for major social change in poor Oaxaca.

The people involved in the general strike called for the corrupt Governor Ruiz to resign. Police and military were sent into Oaxaca to put an end to the strike but the violence and abuses that erupted backfired for Ruiz. Public opinion of the Oaxaca government plummeted. Ruiz was forced to resign as the world watched the events in Oaxaca.

This film gave me mixed feelings about globalization. Part of the reason Oaxaca was so poor was that large companies had come into the town and did not pay livable wages. This was also, however, an example of how global pressures can help effect change in areas of the world. Part of the reason that Ruiz was forced to resign was the footage that was shown around the world of police and military brutality of peaceful protesters. I suppose globalization is a mixed bag at best.

Granito de Arena / Grain of Sand (2005) By Jill Freidberg

By Hilomi Sipal

Globalization is a “system that breaks everything that it touches.” “A teacher’s role is to show that globalization and neoliberalism devastates families around the world.”

This documentary,tells the story of how teachers in Mexico have resisted and struggled, for more than 20 years, against changes within the education system which resulted due to the expansion of global economic forces.

Public schools, ‘normales rurales,’ enabled virtually anyone access to an education, and therefore provided every one with an opportunity to pursue a career. The example of a ‘normales rurales,’ provided in Granito de Arena, is a school which trained students to become teachers. This school was not only a place of education, but also home to many students and teachers. It was in operation for 46 years, when the school was demolished to create a new private school in it’s place. A lot of people no longer had the access to education and were left homeless. And so, when privatization of such schools began to increasingly occur, the people began to protest. Teachers also fought against corruption within the union system. Never were their protests aggressive or violent, but often it would end tragically. Many leaders of protests, who were often teachers, were taken away never to be seen again. Such are the examples, as the documentary depicts, of the effect globalization is having upon education systems in some parts of our world.

This documentary also left me with mixed feelings. I had never seen this side of globalization, and had always just assumed that it was a system or process which unifies people while still recognizing and accepting differences. A very naive outlook. The documentary states that as a result of globalization “each country is without cultural identity.” I am not sure if I completely agree with this statement, but after watching the documentary I am definitely more aware of the negative impacts globalization.

Some interesting facts from the documentary:

The World Bank will make 4 trillion dollars per year if all schools were privatized.

In Mexico, teachers are social leaders. Teacher is synonymous for struggle, transformation, solidarity, and support.

Defunding is a method to get schools to privatize.

Guerra Sucia / Dirty War - 150 teachers assassinated...150 teachers arrested and tortured in maximum security prisons. There are more examples of such horrors within the documentary.

Globalization and Standardized Testing

By Hilomi Sipal

The implementation of standardized tests, especially on a global scale, is a big consequential factor of globalization. There is now an international standard for education. Although this system certainly reveals imperialistic qualities, it is also important to remember for many students from different countries around the world, it is an opportunity to pursue a higher level of education from reputable academic institutions.

Examples of Standardized Tests:

IB - International Baccalaureate, AP - Advanced Placement, SAT - Scholastic Assessment Test, ACT - American College Test, GCE - General Certificate of Education, and TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Interesting Links

Globalization & Education:

Songs With a Global Conscience Music and Globalization: This website offers a list of songs surrounding global issues. It might be a good way to introduce these topics to students in a unique way.

Lesson Plans, a project by the Levin Institute, a series of lesson plans which include the following topics and many more: culture, development, environment, health, IMF and World Bank, international law, investment, migration, technology and human rights

Resources for Rethinking, a lesson on cultural globalization

Global Envision, a collection of lesson plans on topics such as migration, religion, women, climate and trade

PBS teacher site, a lesson on the WTO

National Geographic, lessons on globalization (effects on "developed" countries and indigenous cultures) and trade (products across borders)

2001 Global Studies Summer Institute, Center for International Education, a collection of lesson plans, many based on New York Times articles

Readings from Class


Ross, E. W., & Gibson, R. (2006). Introduction: What is neoliberalism? In E. W. Ross & R. Gibson (Eds.), Neoliberalism and education reform (pp. 1-14). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Lipman, P. (2006). No Child Left Behind: Globalization, privatization and the politics of inequality. In E. W. Ross & R. Gibson (Eds.), Neoliberalism and education reform (pp. 35-58). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Kuehn, L. (2006, Spring). The New Right agenda and teacher resistance in Canadian education. Our Schools/Our Selves, 15(3), 127-141.

Martell, G. (2006). Introduction: Education’s iron cage and its dismantling in the new global order. Our Schools/Our Selves, 15(3), 1-13.