After the Virus: Disaster Capitalism, Digital Inequity, and Transformative Education for the Future of Schooling

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Education and Urban Society


The 2020 COVID-19 disaster triggered an educational crisis in the United States, deeply exacerbating the inequities present in education as schools went online. This primary impact may not be the only one, however: literature describes a secondary impact of such disasters through “disaster capitalism,” in which the private sector captures the public resources of disaster-struck communities for profit. In response to these warnings, we ask how schools, families, and communities can counteract disaster capitalism for educational equity. To address this question, we first synthesize a critical framework for analyzing digital inequity in education. We then dissect the strategies disaster capitalism uses to attack the school-family-community relationship and exacerbate digital inequity in “normal” times as well as during crises. Employing the notion of community funds of knowledge, we next examine the resources schools, families, and communities can mobilize against disaster capitalism and digital inequity. Finally, guided by the concepts of generative change and transformative learning, we consider actionable practices of countering disaster capitalism for a transformative education.


Digital inequity; Disaster capitalism; Racism; Transformative education; Urban education


Online and Distance Education | Urban Education

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