Radical Neoliberalism: Bilingual Education in the School District of Philadelphia
Nelson Flores

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Pennsylvania

Primary Discipline

Second Language Learning/Bilingual Education
The late 1960s and early 1970s witnessed efforts in urban areas to take control of schools away from government bureaucracies and put into the hands of the communities of color being served by these schools. On the one end of this fight for community control were activists of color who saw community control as a mechanism for dismantling white supremacy. On the other end were economics who saw community control as a mechanism for promoting a neoliberal vision of school choice. In this project I conduct a racial genealogy of bilingual education in the School District of Philadelphia that seeks to examine how these two visions of community control have been negotiated by Latino community activists. This racial genealogy has both a historical and contemporary component. The historical component examines the efforts of Latino community activists to institutionalize bilingual education during the heyday of radical struggles for community control in the 1970s. The contemporary component examines the ways that contemporary bilingual education activists have appropriated a neoliberal vision of community control in ways that seek to promote aspects of the more radical vision that shaped early advocacy work related to bilingual education through the opening of bilingual charter schools.
About Nelson Flores
Nelson Flores is an assistant professor of educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research seeks to denaturalize raciolinguistic ideologies that inform current conceptualizations of language education. This entails both historical analysis of the origins of contemporary raciolinguistic ideologies and contemporary analysis examining how current language education policies and practices reproduce these ideologies. His primary objective is to illustrate the ways that dominant language ideologies perpetuate the racialization of minoritized communities and to develop alternative conceptualizations of language education that challenge this racialization. His work has appeared in scholarly journals such as Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Linguistics and Education, TESOL Quarterly and Harvard Educational Review.

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