This book brings together essays by leading political, legal, and educational theorists to re-examine the requirements of citizenship education in liberal-democratic societies. The chapters in the book evaluate demands by minority groups for cultural recognition through education, and also examine arguments for and against citizenship education as a means of fostering a shared national identity.
The essays in the volume address educational issues that arise when national, sub-national and supra-national identities compete. How can we determine the limits to parental educational rights when liberalism's concern to protect and promote children's autonomy conflicts with the desire to maintain communal integrity? Given the advances made by the forces of globalization, can the liberal-democratic state morally justify its traditional purpose of forging a cohesive national identity? Or has increasing globalization rendered this educational aim obsolete and morally corrupt? Should (...) liberal education instead seek to foster a sense of global citizenship, even if doing so would suppress patriotic identification?In addressing these and many other questions, the volume examines the theoretical and practical issues at stake between nationalists, multiculturalists and cosmopolitans in the field of education. The fifteen essays, plus an introductory essay by the editors, provide a genuine, productive dialogue between political and legal philosophers and educational theorists. (shrink)
This book brings the idea of a public—defined in part as the quality of communication among strangers—back into focus. The benefits of doing this are many, but perhaps the most important are to adjust our understanding of what is good teaching and to widen our understanding of what counts as central to the educational process.
In this essay I explore the potential that ethnographic methods hold for philosophy of education as a form of critical pragmatism. An aim of critical pragmatism is to help to analyze the roadblocks to fruitful communication, coordination and liberation. It does so by identifying their sources and opportunities for repair. As I have argued elsewhere :222–240, 2012) an important aim of critical pragmatism is to redirect expert knowledge so it takes seriously local understanding. In this essay I do two things. (...) First I look at the other side of critical pragmatism showing how, by adopting ethnographic methods, critical pragmatism can be used to refine and expand local, common sense understanding. Second I show how philosophers can draw on ethnography to understand the ways in which normative issues are felt, defined and creatively resolved on the local level, and how they can in turn use that understanding to provide some general guidelines for addressing educational problems. I show how critical pragmatism can aid education by displaying and thematizing the innovative solutions that people, caught between different normative imperatives, devise to maintain an inclusive, educationally meaningful environment. In this part I draw on my work in a Catholic school to illustrate how ethnography can be used by philosophy to capture innovative resolutions to conflicts of value and I show how philosophy can then serve to thematize these resolutions by appropriating more general categories for addressing similar educational concerns. (shrink)
Randomized field experiments, which in the United States has been proposed as the gold standard of educational research, is dismissed by some critics as "positivistic". Although this dismissal over identifies positivism with a specific research method, the larger point is accurate: the "gold standard" is often insensitive to local situations and human value and philosophical positivism supports and en-courages this insensitivity. In this paper I examine the way positivism is limited in terms of its understanding of the role of values (...) in educational research and I offer pragmatism as a productive alternative to these limitations. In contrast to the view of some critics I show that pragmatism would not reject out of hand randomized field experiments. Rather it would contextualize them as one of a number of valuable research tools. I argue here that pragmatism provides a more complete understanding of the research process because un-like positivism it does not dismiss value claims as meaningless, but provides a way to rationally address them. Thus its understanding of the research process is better suited to the process of educating which is inherently infused with values. I also expand on the ideas of traditional pragmatism by introducing a variation that I call critical pragmatism. (shrink)
The essays in this volume address the educational issues which arise when national, sub-national, and supra-national identities compete. How can we determine the limits of parental educational rights when the concern of liberalism to protect and promote children's autonomy conflicts with the desire to maintain communal integrity? Given the advances made by the forces of globalization, can the liberal-democratic state morally justify its traditional purpose of forging a cohesive national identity? Or has increasing globalization rendered this educational aim obsolete and (...) morally corrupt? Should liberal education instead seek to foster a sense of global citizenship, even if doing so would suppress patriotic identification? In addressing these and many other questions, the volume examines the theoretical and practical issues at stake between nationalists, multiculturalists, and cosmopolitans in the field of education. The fifteen essays, plus an introductory essay by the editors, provide a genuine, productive dialogue between political and legal philosophers and educational theorists. (shrink)
In this review of Warren Nord's Does God Make a Difference? Taking Religion Seriously in Our Schools and Universities, Walter Feinberg provides a detailed analysis of Nord's argument that the study of religion should be constitutionally mandated as a corrective to the overwhelmingly secular course of study offered in contemporary public schools and universities. Nord bases his claim on both constitutional and educational grounds. His constitutional argument is that, due to their secular bias, schools fail in their requirement to take (...) a neutral stance toward religion; he contends that this creates a school environment hostile to religion that thus requires a legal remedy. Nord's primary educational argument is that religion courses are needed to counterbalance the secular bias dominant in public schools and universities. Feinberg delineates how Nord's constitutional argument fails and how his educational argument has serious flaws and contradictions. According to Feinberg, a stronger argument for mandating courses on religion in schools would be that because public schools exist in a religiously infused environment, it is important for students to be exposed to alternative understandings that promote reflection on and criticism of one's own beliefs, including religious beliefs. Feinberg concludes that if religion is to be taught in the public schools, it needs to be justified on civic rather than religious grounds. (shrink)
Education is experiencing a case of misplaced accountability, where an exclusive reliance on high stakes tests overlooks the more subtle judgments of teachers and professional educators and, because of its simplicity, passes as democratic. This article investigates the theoretical underpinnings of current accountability initiatives and draws upon extensive teacher interviews to reveal the practical aspects of accountability pressures in schools today. We provide a discussion of local teacher knowledge that exposes teachers' commitments to a deeper sense of successful education that (...) is eclipsed by testing and that offers a richer resource for improving classrooms and educational outcomes. We provide a discussion of educational foundations and policy that rethinks democratic goals and encourages educationists to shift the current debate in order to make accountability truly democratic. This article suggests that the contemporary climate of accountability may be misplaced in its intentions. (shrink)
: In this 2006 John Dewey Society Invited Address, I place Dewey in a larger philosophical and historical context. My hope is that by doing so we can learn more about the future prospects for the role of philosophy of education. I see Dewey as one of those rare canonical philosophers whose reputation as a philosopher is intricately tied to their writings on education and I want to explore why this tie makes sense with some canonical figures, such as Plato (...) and Rousseau, but not with others, such as Aristotle, Locke, Whitehead, and Russell, who have also contributed to our understanding of education. (shrink)
The essays in Part III of the book, on liberal constraints and traditionalist education, argue for a more regulatory conception of liberal education and emphasize the need for some controls over cultural and religious educational authority. Walter Feinberg’s essay, on religious education in liberal–democratic societies in relation to the question of accountability and autonomy, takes up the issue of educational constraints with respect to religious schools in such societies. While he allows that religious education need not be inconsistent with liberal (...) goals, and can find reasons why some liberal societies feel it appropriate to provide public support for religious schools, he argues that certain conditions can render such support tyrannical and unwise. He concludes that if the conditions are appropriate for public support of religious schools, then there should also be significant public control. After an introduction in Section 14.1, the chapter has six further sections: Section 14.2 discusses some of the potential lines of conflict between religious liberal education and public education; Section 14.3 examines a number of arguments that have been advanced in support of public funding for religious schools; Section 14.4 looks at a potentially fundamental reason for denying public funding for religious schools – that it would be tyrannical to take tax funds from one believer in order to advance the beliefs of another – and the implications as regards the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; both Sections 14.4 and 14.5 suggest some of the conditions that need to be satisfied in order to supply this funding – primarily that it must be predicated on the school advancing individual and social autonomy; Section 14.6 briefly suggests what such an arrangement might entail for the traditional way in which the public/private divide is conceived; Section 14.7 concludes. (shrink)