Most previous discussions of education systems, policy and practices highlight the ways in which the quasi-market has come to dominate internationally. This means that education is no longer understood as a public good, but rather as supply (i.e. provision at compulsory
or post-compulsory level) and demand (i.e. young people see themselves as agentic consumers of that provision).
In this chapter, we focus instead on a shift in the discourse: we have identified a disquieting turn to genetics. This resurgent discourse builds on marketized foundations, claiming to be a scientifically neutral means of determining through DNA one’s place in differentiated and hierarchized provision. We call attention to the ways in which such thinking may both reinforce existing segregation in provision, and also foster new forms.
Genetics-informed education policy is, and will be, mediated by educational leaders, and so we offer critical tools to help them navigate this dangerous terrain.