The Influence of Neoliberalism in South African and U.S. Education Reform
This chapter examines the role of market mechanisms in both undercutting and advancing efforts to desegregate educational systems in two highly segregated nations—post-apartheid South Africa and the post-Brown US. It outlines some of the theoretical considerations around policy and research for school organization and equity based on market mechanisms of choice, autonomy, and competition. School segregation policies in South Africa under apartheid were somewhat similar to the segregation policies of the Jim Crow era in the Southern US schools. The chapter then reviews evidence on these policies in two countries with long histories of segregation, which have both embraced choice approaches in recent decades, in part to address equity considerations. It also examines the thinking behind choice and the growth of these movements in the US and South Africa, highlighting the empirical track record on these reforms. The chapter considers the implications for policy and research, focusing on the potential of these policies.