Challenging the Global Perspective of Peace Education
To reiterate, I am suggesting that while a global view of peace education, taught
as a specified subject within specified teaching/learning contexts, is immeasurably
valuable, it is also somewhat remote from the lived world of the average student
(especially in the K-12 setting), even somewhat remote from the average adult citizen in
the U.S. today (unless his/her life has been personally touched by violence or war.)
Moreover, I suggest that
educational policies and practices (K-12), embedded in the
neoliberal culture of standardization and objectification, do not cater to an understanding
of education as a peaceful and cooperative endeavor involving individuals and
communities. Consequently, other than the ways in which peace education might further
neoliberal economic interests in the global marketplace, alternative forms of peace
education that would address individual and social cooperation for peacemaking would
not garner the same kind of interest from neoliberal educational policymakers. Instead,
the present socio-cultural/political milieu emphasizes non-peaceful values associated with
competition, efficiency, technological expertise, wholesale capitalism, rampant
consumerism, and political dominance at home - concentrated at the top of the socio-
economic hierarchy and overseas. With neoliberal policies and practices successfully
embedded in our schools, current efforts at peace education would appear to be
compromised by the current capitalistic and consumer-based national focus. Shapiro
(2010) points out, “This new world of global capitalism with its extraordinary capacity to
shape wants and needs is nothing less than an assault on our very identity as human
beings. It seeks to transform every human desire into a market-supplied commodity” (p.
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