From GERM (Global Educational Reform Movement) to NERM (Neoliberal Educational Reform Madness)




Global Education Reform Movement, Neoliberalism, Foucault, Madness, School Choice, Education Marketization


This article examines a popularized term, the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM), and its underlying paradigm of neoliberalism. It elucidates neoliberalism’s ‘maddening’ effects on the education sector, especially public education. To analyze these effects, I draw from and adapt Michel Foucault’s analytical approach to madness. My analysis focuses on the following maddening effects of neoliberalism on education: (1) it blinds us to inequalities; (2) it creates a desperate passion amid the rise of school choice; and (3) it eliminates reason and creates unreason in the school selection and admissions processes. My analysis is based on reflections on my decade-long research on school marketization and school choice in Canada. I conclude by suggesting that collective visions and concrete steps are needed to move towards equitable educational structures, discourses, and practices that resist or challenge the neoliberal education reform madness (NERM).

Author Biography

Ee-Seul Yoon, University of Manitoba

By pioneering innovative geospatial approaches in education research, Dr. Ee-Seul Yoon is recognized for breaking new ground in interdisciplinary research connecting educational policy, sociology, and geography. Her work has helped forge new lines of research on the uneven impact of education marketization and privatization on schooling opportunities, experiences, and outcomes.






Defending and Strengthening Public Education as a Common Good