Journal Issue:
Examining Policy Formation & Practice: Who Really Benefits? Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis: Volume 2, Issue 1

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Welcome Letter From The Board
( 2013-05-01) Beatty, Cameron ; Iowa State University Digital Repository
Dialectical Constellations Of Progress: New Visions Of Public Higher Education For The Twenty-First Century
( 2013-05-01) Letizia, Angelo ; Iowa State University Digital Repository

Neoliberalism is in the process of transforming higher education from a social good into a market good. For neoliberals, all social institutions, including education, should be subject to the market. Yet this market vision can have detrimental effects on higher education because it negates all critical and humanistic aspects of it. The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 is a state policy that aims to restructure higher education into a market good and is a direct reflection of neoliberalism. This paper will argue that scholars and educationalists must not only fight neoliberalism and return education to a social good, but also help higher education progress to something totally new. Dialectics entails the simultaneous preservation of what is beneficial and the destruction of what is oppressive in state affairs. It is the hope that a dialectical critique of the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act can transform higher education from its current state as a market good into a rich and complex entity that can contribute to true progress for the state of Virginia.

The PUEDES Approach: A Paradigm For Understanding And Responding To The 21st Century Latina/o Dropout/Pushout Crisis In The U.S.
( 2013-05-01) Rodriguez, Louie ; Iowa State University Digital Repository

The statistics reflecting the dropout/pushout crisis are sobering. Whereas 70% of all U.S. students who enter high school will graduate four years later, only about half of all low-income students of color will graduate. Research continues to show that the dropout crisis is concentrated in residentially and educationally segregated communities that tend to be primarily poor, Black, Latina/o, and are typically characterized by a high rate of English Learners and immigrant students. While the dropout crisis is pervasive, there are few progressive frameworks that provide more robust explanations as to why students drop out, and even fewer provide direction for actual responses. This paper proposes Paradigm to Understand and Examine Dropout and Engagement in Society (PUEDES), a complex and context-relevant framework that centers equity and social justice at its core. PUEDES is explained and applied to a real-life case-study of one student who struggled to stay in school. Implications for research, policy and practice, particularly through the ways in which the culture of educational institutions can equitably respond to the needs of Latina/o youth in the 21st Century are addressed.

Policy, Reconfigured: Critical Policy Studies And The (False) Beneficence Of Subjects
( 2013-05-01) Gildersleeve, Ryan ; Iowa State University Digital Repository

In this brief essay, I outline a core concern of educational policy research that often is left unattended – the hidden benefits of policy. I then share a host of studies that have taken a critical stance toward policy research, strategically engaging the masked, unacknowledged, and latent ideological consequences of policy texts. These studies help illustrate ways that educational policy has become a normative social practice for securing the status-quo and perpetuating dominant ideological discourses. I conclude by offering thoughts toward a reconfiguration of policy that encourages a compassionate, reflexive, living interrogation of how discourse begets material reality.

Compromised Stability And Security In The “Race To The Bottom”
( 2013-05-01) Wegemer, Chris ; Hinze, Kellie ; Iowa State University Digital Repository

Complex webs of global supply chains are rooted in low wage labor abroad. Transnational corporations (TNCs) – large global corporations that do not identify with a single country as its headquarters – have gained power over producers through these arrangements at the expense of the workers’ rights and job security. We present the hypothesis that the flexibility and inherent lack of accountability of global supply chains combined with the constant pursuit of lowest production costs has the potential to destabilize countries inadvertently. Evidence supports the proposition that exploitative conditions at the bottom can threaten the physical security and political/economic stability of those at the top. This is tangibly evident in the garment industry, which is explored in depth in this article. Governments and corporations in developed countries must take a more proactive role guaranteeing the rights of workers throughout global supply chains to ensure long-term socioeconomic stability for all. Multitudes employed in sweatshop factories are plunged further into destitute poverty when the global economy wavers. The failure of subcontractors to comply with basic labor standards or fulfill their contracts to workers as well as the TNCs’ lack of accountability for their supply chains has jeopardized the job security, well-being, and stability of fragile communities. Unfair labor practices perpetuated by U.S. corporations exacerbate global class polarization, domestically as well as abroad. A global crisis emerges on many levels; to apparel workers and their communities, to the financial and social stability of the producer countries, and potentially to U.S. national security interests. The global linkages of apparel supply chains provide a poignant example of how injustices anywhere can affect everyone everywhere, in negative ways that even the most ardent security-driven conservatives must recognize.