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A Good Investment?Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School$
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Amy Brown

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691128

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691128.001.0001

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Waiting for Superwoman

Waiting for Superwoman

White Female Teachers as “Neoliberal Saviors”

Chapter:
(p.80) 4 Waiting for Superwoman
Source:
A Good Investment?
Author(s):

Amy Brown

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816691128.003.0005

This chapter looks at how the figure of the White female “savior” teacher fits into school privatization and marketization. College Preparatory Academy’s teaching staff is predominantly White and female. The trope of the White female “savior” teacher is popular in contemporary film and literature, and much of the school’s image management strategies are structured around selling raced and gendered images of the “ideal type” savior teacher. This chapter profiles three White female teachers who are seen as excellent educators by colleagues, students, and parents. It compares these cases to their “ideal types” in literature and film. It contends that, despite the best of intentions, one teacher embodies a “White neoliberal” model of social justice, and sees her role in the classroom as giving students the tools to enhance their marketability. The others embody a model of social justice that is based on what media scholar and political scientist Lilie Chouliaraki (drawing on Hannah Arendt) names “agonistic solidarity” (2011). The chapter argues for remaining critical about the term “social justice” in leftist educational discourse, and demonstrates how the figure of the White female teacher fits into school privatization, marketization, and the encouragement of students’ “professional” performance.

Keywords:   White, female, “savior” teacher, school privatization, marketization, image management, profiles, neoliberal, social justice, “agonistic solidarity”

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