Michael Apple

By Connie, Tyler and Nicole

From humble beginnings growing up the son of a printer in an impoverished New Jersey neighbourhood, Michael Apple is now regarded as an influential figure for his work as an educational sociologist, and has earned many awards and honours. He began his career as a teacher in the same neighbourhood in which he was raised. He became involved in the union and the politics in education. His book "Ideology and the Curriculum" was named one of the most important books in education in the 20th century. Currently, he is the John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin, 2015). He is also a visiting fellow to the University of Birmingham in the UK. The following is meant to give you some insight into his vast body of work as an educational theorist. Please click here for his University of Wisconsin bio page.

“Landscape of education is littered with the corpses of failed reforms” Michael Apple (2013)

His work centres around questions like:

  • What counts as official knowledge?
  • What is the school curriculum? Who decides?
  • Whose knowledge is taught?
  • How do those decisions relate to economic structures?
  • What is the relationship of the curriculum to the life experience of learners?
  • And what are its implications for social equity?

Conservative Modernization

Michael Apple's work outlines 4 major groups influencing education. These groups include:

  • Neo-Liberalists
  • Neo-Conservatives
  • Uthoritarian Populists
  • Professional and managerial new middle class

“schools exist through their relations to other more powerful institutions, institutions that are combined in such a way as to generate structural inequalities of power and access to resources” (Apple 1979, p. 63)

Michael Apple's Suggestions for moving forward

  1. We must change what we do. We must be the critical secretaries of successful practices. Change what counts as high impact research. We need to document the successes.
  2. Must learn from the “south” about what they are doing. Instead of being teachers we must try to be learners.
  3. Nothing we are doing now is harder than what we’ve already faced.

Publications by Michael Apple

Apple, M.W. Can education change society? Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M.W. (2012). Education and power. New York: Routledge.
Abstract: Routledge Education Classic Edition Series

Apple, M.W. (2010). Global crises, social justice, and education. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M.W., Ball, S., & Gandin, L.A. (2010). The routledge international handbook of the sociology of education. New York and London: Routledge.

Apple, M.W., Au, W., & Gandin, L. (2009). The routledge international handbook of critical education. The routledge international handbook of critical education. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M.W. Can critical education interrupt the Right? Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 30(3), 239 - 251.

Apple, M.W. (2006). Educating the "Right" way: Markets, standards, God, and inequality. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M.W., & Buras, K. (2006). The subaltern speak: Curriculum, power, and educational struggles. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M.W. (2004). Ideology and curriculum (25th Anniversary). New York: Routledge.

Apple, M.W. (2000). Official knowledge: Democratic education in a conservative age. New York: Routledge.

Apple, M.W. (1995). Education and Power. New York: Routledge.


Apple, M. W. (2004). Ideology and curriculum. Routledge.

Apple, M.W. (2001). Educational and curricular restructuring and the neo-liberal and neo-conservative agendas: Interview with Michael Apple. Curriculo SemFronteiras, 1(1), i-xxvi. Retrieved at: http://www.curriculosemfronteiras.org/vol1iss1articles/appleeng.pdf

Apple, M. (2004, February 21). Michael Apple on Ideology in Curriculum. Retrieved May 16, 2015, from http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-8/michael-apple-on-ideology-in-curriculum

Apple, M. W. (2011). Global crises, social justice, and teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 62(2), 222+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA252384458&v=2.1&u=ko_acd_uoo&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=2313106b76b459f0eaa645124d64c1e4

Apple, M. W. (1993). The politics of official knowledge: Does a national curriculum make sense?. Discourse, 14(1), 1-16.

Ball, S. (2014). Apple, michael. In D. Phillips (Ed.), Encyclopedia of educational theory and philosophy. (pp. 45-47). Thousand Oaks,, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: http://dx.doi.org.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca/10.41...

Melbourne Graduate School of Education. (2012, October 16). Why we should be worried about current educational reforms? Dean’s Lecture Series. [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRmCxrMV6gg