Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Teacher Education

Committee Member

Paul Ramsey, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Rebecca Martusewicz, EdD

Committee Member

Christopher Robbins, PhD


Current education reform in the U.S. is based upon a business model with capitalist market principles. High stakes standardized testing is a tool that the business model reformers use to dismantle democracy while creating an environment where a democratic society will not thrive. One of the reasons that business-minded reformers are so successful in promoting their agenda is that our society is highly individualistic. The individualistic nature of society in the U.S. provides fertile ground for reform that not only harms our present vestiges of democracy but also endangers the possibility of a democratic society for future generations. A critical analysis of individualism in U.S. culture, standardized testing, its history, and the ways in which it is used will show that individualism is a powerful cultural tradition in dominant U.S. culture. As well, the analysis will show that reformers utilizing business-model reforms and legislation desire national institutions nationally that will, to an ever-increasing extent, perpetuate a neoliberal authoritarian structure that threatens democracy.

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