The purpose of public education has been disputed upon ever since it was first establish. The main argument has been over whether education is primarily a way to produce students who can participate and increase the economic productivity or to teach them how to become democratic citizens who would fight for an egalitarian society. These contradicting opinions derived from the conflicting ideas of neoliberals and social justice activists. Neoliberals aim toward the prosperity of the nation's economy. On the other hand, social justice activist such as John Dewey, intended to build a socially just society. Today, there still isn't a firm conclusion to the disagreements between what the purpose of education should be. However, the ideals of our modern society has gradually affected the system of our public education and which purpose it chooses to serve. The current purpose of education from K-12 seems to dangerously lean towards neoliberalism, when it should be modeled after John Dewey's principles.
The current purpose of public schools from K-12 appears to follow neoliberalism. Public schools from K-12 are government-funded institutions that provide free education for all children. However, the spread of Neoliberalism in the United States significantly affects our public education system. Neoliberalism is the belief that society operates best when individuals are free to follow their private interests with limited government intervention. In this way, public institutions would become privatized, which transforms society's main objective to the pursuit of profit (Garcia & Martinez, 1997). Today, the purpose of our public schools has adapted to this prevalent idea. The article "Beyond the Justice of the Market " by David Hursh (Date) declares that neoliberals called for "education to be transformed from a "government' to a market system"" (p. 156). Under this "market system", schools are assessed through standardized methods, which allows the comparison between their overall academic performances.