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An Aristocracy of Everyone: The Politics of Education and the Future of America / Edition 1

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In a book that fundamentally alters the terms of the current debate over education in America, Benjamin R. Barber argues that rather than pursuing a debate defined by controversy over who should be taught, what should be taught, and how it should be paid for, Americans must address education for what it is: the well-spring of democracy in the United States. In this timely, witty, and readable account, Barber emphatically shows that education must emphasize democracy as much as it does the pursuit of excellence. With such an education, young Americans will gain nothing less than an apprenticeship in liberty -- one grounded in a renewed commitment to community service -- an idea that Barber put into practice at Rutgers University, and one which President Clinton has embraced as the key to a revitalized America. This approach will provide Americans the literacy to live in a civil society and the competence to participate in democratic communities, while promoting an educational excellence that will maintain America's economic, technical, and political preeminence in a rapidly changing world.

An Aristocracy of Everyone shows that education offers the only path toward rebuilding and reinvigorating the United States, and that this is a path we must begin to follow now.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Barber The Conquest of Politics, a professor of political science at Rutgers, asserts that education and democracy are inextricably linked in this wide-ranging examination of American schools and their place in our society. He cites the usable past of the American story and current advocacy of multicultural curricula as paradoxical aspects of democracy in action, and argues persuasively that public education is education for citizenship, a crucial goal for people in a pluralistic society. In his view, education for citizenship and self-governance coexist with excellence; his critique of conservative educator Allan Bloom's book The Closing of the American Mind is an arresting polemic. Barber's liberal views are thought-provoking and persuasive. Oct.
Library Journal
Barber political science, Rutgers Univ. claims that teaching liberty is the fundamental task of education in a democracy, and to lose sight of this basic principle is to imperil our society. Societal attitudes are equally important in sustaining democracy, and Barber maintains that they are currently at risk. We reward greediness, applaud acquisitiveness, and denigrate teaching as a profession. The author calls for a transformation as far-reaching as that which demolished the former Soviet Union. He analyzes what he sees as the essence of true democracy, from its roots in classical Greece through the visionary ideas of the founding fathers. He lashes out at conservative ``excesses,'' especially Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind , LJ 5/1/87, as antidemocratic and basically hostile toward women and minorities. However, multiculturalists and politically correct activists fare no better. Barber offers a model for development pedagogy where responsible citizenship is learned in a community setting with multiculturalism as a developmental phase. His views are exciting, controversial, but intellectually stimulating and presented in eloquently acrimonious language. This truly remarkable book should be in every library.-- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195091540
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,256,970
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin R. Barber is Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and the Wilson H. Elkins Professor at The Maryland School of Public Affairs at University of Maryland. He is also the author of Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age (1984) and The Conquest of Politics (1988).

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Table of Contents

Prologue 3
Ch. 1 Teaching Temporality 17
Ch. 2 To Be an American 40
Ch. 3 Loose Canons 78
Ch. 4 Radical Excesses and Post-Modernism 107
Ch. 5 Conservative Excesses and Allan Bloom 151
Ch. 6 What Our Forty-Seven-Year-Olds Know 192
Ch. 7 Teaching Democracy Through Community Service 230
Epilogue 262
Notes 269
Bibliography 287
Index 293
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