In this essay, Henry Giroux frames the election of Barack Obama as an opportunity to shed the outdated neoliberal perspectives of previous presidential administrations and to recreate democracy and education for this new age. He argues that education must be reconceived as a tool for instituting the democratic values and social consciousness required for broad social change, and he questions the extent to which Obama's "postpartisan" political approach will move our society away from a preoccupation with markets and toward a greater sense of civic responsibility. Critiquing current approaches to education reform, Giroux identifies an inherent conflict between Obama's professed commitment to instating democratic equality and his appointment of Arne Duncan as secretary of education.

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