Doing More with Less: A Philosophical View of Dr. Michael Apple La Vonda D. Loney
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Doing More with Less: A Philosophical View of Dr. Michael Apple
“Money does not cure school problems” (Fowler, 2009, p.71). This sentiment was shared during a speech in 1988 by William Bennett whom served the country as the Secretary of Education under the Reagan Administration. After studying the state of education in the United States, he believed that there was no link between the amount of governmental monetary resources given to schools and student achievement. In other words, more money does not equal higher student achievement rates. The question is: Since monetary resources are not linked to the positive increase of student achievement, then how can the lack of monetary resources cause decreased levels of student achievement? Where is the real control? Whose ideologies do we listen to when it comes to identifying what makes schools work? Michael Apple, a critical, theoretical researcher in his own right, believes that “Formal schooling by and large is organized and controlled by the government” (Apple, 2003, Chapter 1). The idea that politics rule the world is one of many messages that Apple wants to his readers to understand. He questions to what extent is education affected by the political arena. In State of Politics and Knowledge, Apple argues that education will always remain in the mix of political and cultural conflicts. It is due to the dominant political groups whose agenda is to reform schools utilizing neoliberal/authoritarian/populist strategies and neoliberal/neoconservative/middle-class managerial strategies. (Apple, 2003) Apples goal is to “create truly democratic and realistic alternatives to the ways markets, standards, and testing are now being forced onto schools” (Electronic Book Review, 2012). He believes that educators can collectively come together to bring about a more democratic response to our educational woes by tearing down the common practice of dominant political leadership. So who is this Michael Apple theorist and why should educators seek to understand his ideals? Well, a major reason is because he sits among the top 50 educational theorists of the Twentieth Century. Apple is an award winning scholar/writer. Educators should want to know more about Apple because he has managed to publish many of his works in various languages, maximizing the potential for readers from all walks of life to read, understand, ponder, and conceptualize his position. Reaching the masses is a huge accomplishment. Despite his astounding accomplishments, Apple believes that he still has much work to do. Looking into a piece of history, we can get a glimpse of how it all started. Paterson, New Jersey has been referred to the as the mecca of radical reformers and political activists. The Apple family was no exception. They were hard working and encouraged everyone around them to obtain an understanding of how politics rule the world. In 1942, when Michael W. Apple was born, America was engrossed in major military conflicts such as World War II, and the Battles of Midway and Guadalcanal. It was also a time when social conflict was at its pinnacle. The first African Americans were allowed to join the Naval Branch of the Armed Forces during that decade. Other social and racial conflicts were beginning to become openly advertised. At an early age, Apple was taught to think critically about the things that were happening around him every day. Everything had a meaning. Apple learned to become conscious about his surroundings and what other people thought about the current status of his immediate culture and traditions. This train of thought helped him to remain successful during his childhood educational career. Immediately, after completion of high school, Apple enrolled in a couple of small state colleges. This was due the fact that there was no money to send him to a major university....
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