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Public schools were envisioned by the Founders as democratically run institutions for instilling civic values, but today's education system seems more concerned with producing good employees than good citizens. Meanwhile, our country's diversity has eroded consensus about citizenship, and the professionalization of educators has diminished public involvement in schools.
This volume seeks to demonstrate that the democratic purposes of education are not outmoded ideas but can continue to be driving forces in public education. Nine original articles by some of today's leading education theorists cut a broad swath across the political spectrum to examine how those democratic purposes might be redefined and revived. It both establishes the intellectual foundation for revitalizing American schools and offers concrete ideas for how the educational process can be made more democratic.
The authors make a case for better empirical research about the politics of education in order to both reconnect schools to their communities and help educators instill citizenship. An initial series of articles reexamines the original premise of American education as articulated by important thinkers like Jefferson and Dewey. A second group identifies flaws in how schools are currently governed and offers models for change. A final section analyzes the value conflicts posed by the twin strands of democratic socialization and governance, and their implications for education policy.
Spanning philosophy, history, sociology, and political science, this book brings together the best current thinking about the specifics of education policy—vouchers, charter schools, national testing—and about the role of deliberation in a democracy. It offers a cogent alternative to the exchange paradigm and shows how much more needs to be understood about an issue so vital to America's future.
1. Defining Democratic Purposes, Lorraine M. McDonnell
Part 1. The Philosophy and Practice of Civic Education
2. What the American Founders Have to Teach Us About Schooling for Democratic Citizenship, Lorraine Smith Pangle and Thomas L. Pangle
3. Toward a Political Economy of Citizenship: Historical Perspectives on the Purposes of Common Schools, Carl F. Kaestle
4. Why Should Schools Care about Civic Education?, Amy Gutmann
5. A Political Socialization Perspective, Pamela Johnston Conover and Donald D. Searing
Part 2. Approaches to Studying the Politics of Education
6. The Two Democratic Purposes of Public Education, Terry M. Moe
7. Democracy and Schooling: An Institutional Perspective, James G. March and Johan P. Olsen
8. Seeking a New Politics of Education, Lorraine M. McDonnell and M. Stephen Weatherford
Part 3. Focusing on Democratic Purposes: Implications for Education Policy
9. Democratic Education and the American Dream, Jennifer L. Hochschild and Nathan Scovronick