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Keywords:

  • education reform;
  • empire;
  • imperialism;
  • neoliberalism;
  • Puerto Rico;
  • teachers

The continuities from U.S. colonialism through “embedded” liberalism to neoliberalism are visible in distinct forms of discipline, freedom, and choice in the lives of Puerto Rican public school teachers. Historically shifting, but momentarily singular, representations of the good teacher use gender and class ideologies to promote ideals of disciplined uniformity, democratic social service, and disciplined individuality. A sweep of Puerto Rican history across the American Century, coupled with the details of daily life in Puerto Rican public schools, offers a view about what choice means when the conditions for choosing emerge from the neoliberal prescriptions of the “new imperialism.”