Is there a need to remodel constructivism to be more politically attuned? Author Piki Ish-Shalom calls for an activist academy that engages society and the polity to prevent the watering down of democracy, while helping to create a space for criticism. In this book, he suggests several concrete measures for this engagement within three spheres: individual theoretical work, the academic community as a whole, and within society and the polity. Beyond the Veil of Knowledge suggests that essentially contested concepts are a key medium that politicians use to try to minimize public resistance to their political goals. For constructivists, this means that the social construction of both social knowledge and the social world can be understood as the sociopolitical construction of knowledge and the sociopolitical world.
From the fights about the teaching of evolution to the details of sex education, it may seem like American schools are hotbeds of controversy. But as Jonathan Zimmerman and Emily Robertson show in this insightful book, it is precisely because such topics are so inflammatory outside school walls that they are so commonly avoided within them. And this, they argue, is a tremendous disservice to our students. Armed with a detailed history of the development of American educational policy and norms and a clear philosophical analysis of the value of contention in public discourse, they show that one of the best things American schools should do is face controversial topics dead on, right in their classrooms.
Zimmerman and Robertson highlight an aspect of American politics that we know all too well: We are terrible at having informed, reasonable debates. We opt instead to hurl insults and accusations at one another or, worse, sit in silence and privately ridicule the other side. Wouldn’t an educational system that focuses on how to have such debates in civil and mutually respectful ways improve our public culture and help us overcome the political impasses that plague us today? To realize such a system, the authors argue that we need to not only better prepare our educators for the teaching of hot-button issues, but also provide them the professional autonomy and legal protection to do so. And we need to know exactly what constitutes a controversy, which is itself a controversial issue. The existence of climate change, for instance, should not be subject to discussion in schools: scientists overwhelmingly agree that it exists. How we prioritize it against other needs, such as economic growth, however—that is worth a debate.
With clarity and common-sense wisdom, Zimmerman and Robertson show that our squeamishness over controversy in the classroom has left our students woefully underserved as future citizens. But they also show that we can fix it: if we all just agree to disagree, in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
This year marks the centenary publication of John Dewey’s magnum opus, Democracy and Education. Despite its profound importance as a foundational text in education, it is notoriously difficult and—dare we say it—a little dry. In this charming and often funny companion, noted philosopher of education D. C. Phillips goes chapter by chapter to bring Dewey to a twenty-first-century audience. Drawing on over fifty years of thinking about this book—and on his own experiences as an educator—he lends it renewed clarity and a personal touch that proves its lasting importance.
Phillips bridges several critical pitfalls of Democracy and Education that often prevent contemporary readers from fully understanding it. Where Dewey sorely needs a detailed example to illustrate a point—and the times are many—Phillips steps in, presenting cases from his own classroom experiences. Where Dewey casually refers to the works of people like Hegel, Herbart, and Locke—common knowledge, apparently, in 1916—Phillips fills in the necessary background. And where Dewey gets convoluted or is even flat-out wrong, Phillips does what few other scholars would do: he takes Dewey to task. The result is a lively accompaniment that helps us celebrate and be enriched by some of the most important ideas ever offered in education.
As the public purposes of higher education are being challenged by the increasing pressures of commodification and market-driven principles, Deliberative Pedagogy argues for colleges and universities to be critical spaces for democratic engagement. The authors build upon contemporary research on participatory approaches to teaching and learning while simultaneously offering a robust introduction to the theory and practice of deliberative pedagogy as a new educational model for civic life. This volume is written for faculty members and academic professionals involved in curricular, co-curricular, and community settings, as well as administrators who seek to support faculty, staff, and students in such efforts. The book begins with a theoretical grounding and historical underpinning of education for democracy, provides a diverse collection of practical case studies with best practices shared by an array of scholars from varying disciplines and institutional contexts worldwide, and concludes with useful methods of assessment and next steps for this work. The contributors seek to catalyze a conversation about the role of deliberation in the next paradigm of teaching and learning in higher education and how it connects with the future of democracy. Ultimately, this book seeks to demonstrate how higher education institutions can cultivate collaborative and engaging learning environments that better address the complex challenges in our global society.
How are we to understand the nature and value of higher education's public purposes, mission, and work in a democratic society? How do-and how should-academic professionals contribute to and participate in civic life in their practices as scholars, scientists, and educators? Democracy and Higher Education addresses these questions by combining an examination of several normative traditions of civic engagement in American higher education with the presentation and interpretation of a dozen oral history profiles of contemporary practitioners. In his analysis of these profiles, Scott Peters reveals and interprets a democratic-minded civic professionalism that includes and interweaves expert, social critic, responsive service, and proactive leadership roles. Democracy and Higher Education contributes to a new line of research on the critically important task of strengthening and defending higher education's positive roles in and for a democratic society.
Education, Justice, and Democracy
Edited by Danielle Allen and Rob Reich University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress LC213.2.E39 2013 | Dewey Decimal 379.26
Education is a contested topic, and not just politically. For years scholars have approached it from two different points of view: one empirical, focused on explanations for student and school success and failure, and the other philosophical, focused on education’s value and purpose within the larger society. Rarely have these separate approaches been brought into the same conversation. Education, Justice, and Democracy does just that, offering an intensive discussion by highly respected scholars across empirical and philosophical disciplines.
The contributors explore how the institutions and practices of education can support democracy, by creating the conditions for equal citizenship and egalitarian empowerment, and how they can advance justice, by securing social mobility and cultivating the talents and interests of every individual. Then the authors evaluate constraints on achieving the goals of democracy and justice in the educational arena and identify strategies that we can employ to work through or around those constraints. More than a thorough compendium on a timely and contested topic, Education, Justice, and Democracy exhibits an entirely new, more deeply composed way of thinking about education as a whole and its importance to a good society.
Higher Education and Democracy is a collection of essays written over the last ten years on how civic engagement in higher education works to achieve what authors John Saltmarsh and Edward Zlotkowsi consider to be the academic and civic purposes of higher education. These include creating new modes of teaching and learning, fostering participation in American democracy, the development and respect for community and civic institutions, and encouraging the constant renewal all of these dimensions of American life.
Organized chronologically, the twenty-two essays in this volume provide "signposts" along the road in the journey of fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. For the authors, service-learning is positioned as centrally important to the primary academic systems and structures of higher education, departments, disciplines, curriculum, and programs that are central to the faculty domain. Progressing from the general and the contextual to specific practices embodied in ever larger academic units, the authors conclude with observations on the future of the civic engagement movement.
No Citizen Left Behind
Meira Levinson Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress LC1091.L39 2012 | Dewey Decimal 370.115
While teaching at an all-Black middle school in Atlanta, Levinson realized that her students’ individual self-improvement would not necessarily enable them to overcome their historical marginalization. In order to overcome their civic empowerment gap, students must learn how to reshape power relationships through public political and civic action.
“Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife,” wrote John Dewey in his classic work The School and Society. In School, Society, and State, Tracy Steffes places that idea at the center of her exploration of the connections between public school reform in the early twentieth century and American political development from 1890 to 1940.
American public schooling, Steffes shows, was not merely another reform project of the Progressive Era, but a central one. She addresses why Americans invested in public education and explains how an array of reformers subtly transformed schooling into a tool of social governance to address the consequences of industrialization and urbanization. By extending the reach of schools, broadening their mandate, and expanding their authority over the well-being of children, the state assumed a defining role in the education—and in the lives—of American families.
In School, Society, and State, Steffes returns the state to the study of the history of education and brings the schools back into our discussion of state power during a pivotal moment in American political development.
In response to growing concern in the 1980s about the quality of public education across the United States, a tremendous amount of energy was expended by organizations such as the Holmes Group and the Carnegie Forum to organize professional development schools (PDS) or “partner schools” for teacher education. On the surface, the concept of partnering is simple; however, the practice is very costly, complex, and difficult. In Schooling, Democracy, and the Quest for Wisdom, Robert V. Bullough, Jr. and John R. Rosenberg examine the concept of partnering through various lenses and they address what they think are the major issues that need to be, but rarely are, discussed by thousands of educators in the U.S. who are involved and invested in university-public school partnerships. Ultimately, they assert that the conversation around partnering needs re-centering (most especially on the purposes of public education), refreshing, and re-theorizing.
"To Serve a Larger Purpose" calls for the reclamation of the original democratic purposes of civic engagement and examines the requisite transformation of higher education required to achieve it. The contributors to this timely and relevant volume effectively highlight the current practice of civic engagement and point to the institutional change needed to realize its democratic ideals.
Using multiple perspectives, "To Serve a Larger Purpose" explores the democratic processes and purposes that reorient civic engagement to what the editors call "democratic engagement." The norms of democratic engagement are determined by values such as inclusiveness, collaboration, participation, task sharing, and reciprocity in public problem solving and an equality of respect for the knowledge and experience that everyone contributes to education, knowledge generation, and community building. This book shrewdly rethinks the culture of higher education.
In Uncivil Youth, Soo Ah Kwon explores youth of color activism as linked to the making of democratic citizen-subjects. Focusing attention on the relations of power that inform the social and political practices of youth of color, Kwon examines how after-school and community-based programs are often mobilized to prevent potentially "at-risk" youth from turning to "juvenile delinquency" and crime. These sorts of strategic interventions seek to mold young people to become self-empowered and responsible citizens. Theorizing this mode of youth governance as "affirmative governmentality," Kwon investigates the political conditions that both enable youth of color to achieve meaningful change and limit their ability to do so given the entrenchment of nonprofits in the logic of a neoliberal state. She draws on several years of ethnographic research with an Oakland-based, panethnic youth organization that promotes grassroots activism among its second-generation Asian and Pacific Islander members (ages fourteen to eighteen). While analyzing the contradictions of the youth organizing movement, Kwon documents the genuine contributions to social change made by the young people with whom she worked in an era of increased youth criminalization and anti-immigrant legislation.
We are all familiar with ROTC, West Point, and other institutions that train young men and women to be military officers. But few people know of the U.S. Army War College, where the Army's elite career officers go for advanced training in strategy, national security policy, and military-government policymaking. This book takes readers inside the U.S. Army War College to learn about the faculty, staff, administration, and curriculum.Established in 1901, the school's mission has evolved from teaching the skills of war to training officers to negotiate both the complex world of modern strategy and the civilian bureaucracy in Washington. More like a professional graduate program than an academic graduate school, much of the education takes the form of exercises and simulations.Judith Stiehm, who holds the U.S. Army Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, allows readers to judge whether the U.S. Army War College successfully prepares its students for their many roles. She is skeptical that instructors can fulfill this difficult task in an era where civilians expect our military to be invincible, to win without casualties, and to serve as peacekeepers.The Military answers to the people of the United States and it is our responsibility to know how it operates at all levels. This book is a good place to start.