An Alternate Pragmatism for Going Public interrogates composition’s most prominent responses to contemporary K–16 education reform. By “going public,” teachers, scholars, and administrators rightfully reassert their expertise against corporate-political standards and assessments like the Common Core, Complete College America, and the Collegiate Learning Assessment. However, author Jim Webber shows that composition’s professional imperative for self-defense only partly fulfils the broader aims of “going public,” which include fostering public participation that can assess and potentially affirm the public good of professional judgment.
Drawing on the pragmatic/democratic tradition, Webber envisions an alternate rhetoric of professionalism, one that not only reasserts compositionists’ expertise but also expands opportunities for publics to authorize this expertise. While this public inquiry and engagement may not safeguard professional standing against neoliberal reform, it reorients composition toward an equally important goal, enabling publics to gauge the adequacy of the educational standardization so often advocated by contemporary reform.
An Alternate Pragmatism for Going Public shows how public engagement can serve composition’s efforts related to “going public.”