UCLA Center for the Study of Women
No Child Left Behind or Every Teacher under Surveillance?: Revealing Patriarchal Ideologies of Surveillance and Control
- Author(s): Pitzer, Heidi K.
- et al.
This paper addresses how the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act uses patriarchal control to paper over issues of inequalities in education. While NCLB is set up to “save” public schools, I argue that it fails both students and teachers: it does not attend to the structural reasons why poor children and children of color are left behind or even center these children in its reforms; instead, it relies on and furthers the feminization of teaching, using teachers as convenient scapegoats, and it leaves class and race privilege intact. Its central focus on “high quality teachers,” in conjunction with centralized policies of curriculum and pedagogy, targets and blames predominantly female teachers as workers, ultimately reproducing patriarchal relations.
Besides noting some of the now widespread criticisms of NCLB's practical components such as one-size-fits-all standardized testing, underfunding, and racial and economic school segregation, I consider NCLB's ideological underpinnings of surveillance and control. Specifically, through an analysis of its discourses around teacher quality, scientifically-based research and practice, and assessment and measurable outcomes, I examine how NCLB arises out of a paternal and capitalist ideology and how it allows for particular kinds of gendered, racialized, and patriarchal control.