Conceptualizing Charter Schools : Class Reproduction and Education
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This research contextualizes larger debates regarding school choice, educational consumption, and charter schools within the perspectives of parents, teachers, and board members from three charter schools located in a suburban Denver. This paper explores an educational habitus that is now situated in the neoliberal paradigm that has shifted K-12 schooling in the United States to be a commodity. This has affected not only how social actors view the purpose of education but also within their everyday decisions on where to send their kids to school or where to work. In many ways, these three charter schools have implemented curriculum that resists the pull of neoliberalism by supporting the emotional needs of the student, encouraging students to pursue their passions, and ability based learning that gives students more capacity to learn and grow and their pace. However, using Bourdieu's theory of cultural capital, it is evident that a significant amount of cultural and economic capital must be activated in order to gain access to these schools, limiting their effectiveness at transforming education on a broader level and in some ways perpetuating class based stratification.