Is There Room For the Other in a “Modernized” Education?


  • Rebeca Heringer University of Manitoba
  • Melanie Janzen University of Manitoba



Education reform, neoliberalism, Modernization of education, equity, social justice education


The enactment of the Education Modernization Act by the government of Manitoba in early 2021 proposed several structural changes to the governance and delivery of provincial education. The related documents had a strong emphasis on improving the achievement of all students, making them future-ready and strengthening parental involvement. Despite potentially relevant claims of equity and diversity promotion, in this paper we discuss how the government discourse is neither modern nor necessarily better, as it claims to be. Rather, the proposed Education Modernization Act reifies mainstream worldviews and ideas that have been proclaimed since the beginning of the 20th century and which are today empowered by a global neoliberal mindset. We conclude arguing that a non-totalizing response to the Other is a necessary and yet missing disposition in any genuine social justice education.

Author Biographies

Rebeca Heringer, University of Manitoba

Rebeca Heringer is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. She currently works as a sessional instructor (University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba) and a research assistant. Her main research and teaching areas are philosophy of education, educational psychology, anti-racism education, and anti-oppressive research methodologies.

Melanie Janzen, University of Manitoba

Melanie Janzen is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the University of Manitoba. Her research areas are in curriculum studies and teacher education and explore the inter-related workings of power and discourses, particularly as they relate to the construction of identities of teachers and the ongoing marginalization of children.