Avoiding the Demise of Democracy: A Cautionary Tale for Teachers and Principals

Overview

In the seventies, countries lauded American education as one of the best systems in the world. Then came the accountability movement. What was measured was what counted. Those who measured low were punished. Those who measured high were rewarded. With measurements came the loss of emphasis on the critical thought so necessary to the preservation of American democracy and improving the American way of life.
Where do children learn the skills, practice and habits of democracy? ...
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Avoiding the Demise of Democracy: A Cautionary Tale for Teachers and Principals

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Overview

In the seventies, countries lauded American education as one of the best systems in the world. Then came the accountability movement. What was measured was what counted. Those who measured low were punished. Those who measured high were rewarded. With measurements came the loss of emphasis on the critical thought so necessary to the preservation of American democracy and improving the American way of life.
Where do children learn the skills, practice and habits of democracy? Sharron Goldman Walker’s second volume on democracy in education asks educators, especially teachers and principals, to contemplate their roles in education and its connections with the preservation of American democracy. Do we send children to school to learn only how to achieve high scores on high stakes tests? If democracy is not learned by practice in the schoolhouse, how will children recognize it when they leave it? Will they be able to critically reflect upon the issues presented to them? Today’s politics have descended into mutual shouting matches, name-calling, hate and fear. Without the ability to critically reflect upon divergent views through reasoned discourse what will be the quality of the democracy? If democracy in education is not practiced in the schoolhouse, democracy in America will vanish.
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Editorial Reviews

Sue Cox
This book is about the important differences between schooling and democracy. It shows that modeling democracy and allowing it in the classroom, the community, and the administration of schools is paramount if democracy is to survive in America.
Jona Henry
A study of democratic practices in public schools, complete with life experiences and provoking chapter questions. The second of Sharon Walker’s books exploring the importance of public schools role in society continues Principal Dina Macksy’s quest as she challenges, questions and hammers out some hard truths about schools using historical visitors and current ones. I was on the journey from Chapter One!
Mary Wendrick
Sharron Goldman Walker is an educational prophet, one who listens and then speaks. Her approach is as radical as our nation, rooted in democracy that is learned by practice in the schools. If democracy is to survive, children must learn how to live it, through reasoned discourse and thoughtful reflection on divergent views. Today’s politics have descended into shouting matches, name-calling, hate and fear. Verbal violence leaks into our schools and morphs into physical harm. Her prescription for problem solving in education is understandable, her style engaging, and her vision possible. The quest for self-governance gave our ancestors the will to fight and die; the same quest might give children the will to live and learn. All educators can find in this book a source of exploration, examination, and excitement.
Michael Chirichello
In this second volume on democracy in education, Sharron Goldman Walker challenges readers once again to respond to the question why we send our children to school. As our society continues to measure success by test results alone, we are losing sight of the underlying tenants that frame our democratic way of life. Schooling and freedom alone will not preserve education and democracy. This volume challenges each of us to make a commitment to preserve American democracy by rethinking and redesigning an authentic curriculum for the future leaders of our country.
Walter Wesch
The same voices that cry for liberty and venerate our Founding Fathers have saddled America’s children with an educational system that stifles thinking, free expression and inquiry. Walker’s second volume on democracy in education explains the role of public schools in fostering the skills of critical thinking, inquiry and reasoned discourse that are necessary for a democratic society to function. The American system of governance is broken, and she lays out a powerful case for a fundamental transformation of educational philosophy to allow schools to promote and nurture democracy. As educators, we must get this book into the hands of our nation’s policy makers!
Caroline Chilton
Sharron Goldman Walker has addressed a pertinent and timely question regarding the continuation of the democratic process in the United States and the role of public education. At a time when public discourse and legislative decisions are becoming more and more polarized with a trend towards increased inequality and individualism while ignoring the common good, Dr. Walker makes a compelling case for our need to instill the democratic principles in our students and to teach them the philosophical and ethical foundational thought and the societal and individual benefits of a democracy.
Michael Harty
The practice of true democracy, the participation of an informed electorate in the activities and decision making processes of their government, is and has been in crisis in the United States for decades. Public Education, practiced by passionate and dedicated teachers and principals, is one of the last great bastions able to protect and pass on the traditions of historically literate citizenship. Unfortunately, public education is very much in crisis, too. It is under attack by the same forces undermining democracy itself, for those forces recognize its power to challenge the status quo and incite change. I have known Sharron Goldman Walker as a friend and colleague for over twenty years. She truly is among our most dedicated and passionate educators. Her Cautionary Tale deserves to be heard, pondered, and taken seriously. Hers is a voice from the trenches. Her urgency is genuine and just.
Gene Biladeau
In her new book Sharron Walker presents the reader important questions about the direction of education today. For example she stipulates that democratic living risks becoming a 'habit of mind,' or end product rather than democracy as a living breathing process that needs to be practiced each day, and more importantly taught in our schools each day. It is this very point many educators working in today’s educational environment might argue is not happening. The good teachers and principals Walkers sees as necessary to the survival of democratic education are too often bound by the political wrangling of money and philosophy, typically resorting to the data driven and control models of education. As was her first book Principals as Maverick Leaders, Avoiding the Demise of Democracy is again a must read for aspiring teachers and principals and those already in the schools.
John Casicato
Democracy in education may not be dead but those who regulate the educational system at both the Federal and State level are focused on holding the pillow of control to its face, suffocating the life out of it, in the pursuit of higher test scores. Dr. Walker understands the fallacy of that approach, recognizing that engagement rather than control is necessary to lead students to take control of their education. Her books should be required reading by all who are involved in the educational system.
Gene Biladeau
In her new book Sharron Walker presents the reader important questions about the direction of education today. For example she stipulates that democratic living risks becoming a “habit of mind,” or end product rather than democracy as a living breathing process that needs to be practiced each day, and more importantly taught in our schools each day. It is this very point many educators working in today’s educational environment might argue is not happening. The good teachers and principals Walkers sees as necessary to the survival of democratic education are too often bound by the political wrangling of money and philosophy, typically resorting to the data driven and control models of education. As was her first book Principals as Maverick Leaders, Avoiding the Demise of Democracy is again a must read for aspiring teachers and principals and those already in the schools.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781475806236
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/10/2013
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,436,447
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharron Goldman Walker was a public school teacher and principal for almost four decades. She continues to write books and articles about the practice of democracy in the schoolhouse for the preservation of American freedom.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Prologue

Dialogue 1
Just Who Are The Modern Day Goths?
Case Study 1
Teachers Ought Not To Be Governed Like Animals For The Pleasure Of Their Riders
Teacher Trey Pidation recalls the time when he did not sleep in a Procrustean bed.

Dialogue 2
Has Democratic Living Become A Habit Of Mind?

Case Study 2
Democracy Is A Way Of Life That Does Not Come Automatically To Us
Teacher Reed Linkquich learns the practice of democracy.

Dialogue 3
Is Democracy Something Teachers And Principals Do?

Case Study 3
Democracy Is Pragmatic With No Implicit Teaching Formula

Principal Ann Engagement describes the seven periods of teachers.

Dialogue 4
Is Democratic Living Learned Through Osmosis?

Case Study 4
Teachers Who Create Clones Create Principals Who Clone Teachers

Principal Dina Macksy reads from her journals about her cloning process.

Dialogue 5
Is Your Philosophy Of People More Relevant Than Your Philosophy Of Education?

Case Study 5
Who Is The Schoolhouse Really About?

Tyro teacher Dina Macksy meets Goth leadership at a faculty meeting.

Dialogue 6
How Does Control Create Tensions Between The Goths And Democratic Accountability?

Case Study 6
Democracy In Education An Be Practiced By Teachers

Megan Chainges practices democracy and moves into the sixth period of teaching.

Dialogue 7
Are Education And Democracy More About Clouds Than Clouds?

Case Study 7
Democracy In Education Can Be Practiced By Teachers And Principals

Principal Ann Engagement practices democracy and moves into the sixth period of schoolhouse leadership.

Epilogue
Avoiding the Demise of Democracy
References

About the Author

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