Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Can Schools Save Democracy?

Can Schools Save Democracy?

Civic Education and the Common Good

Michael J. Feuer

Publication Date
Binding Type

How can education protect and strengthen democracy?

In an era when democracy is at critical risk, is it reasonable to expect the education system—already buckling under the ordeal of a global pandemic—to solve the converging problems of inequality, climate change, and erosion of trust in government and science? Will more civics instruction help? In Can Schools Save Democracy? Michael J. Feuer offers a new approach to addressing these questions with a strategy for improving the process and substance of civic education.

Although schooling alone cannot save democracy, it must play a part. Feuer...

How can education protect and strengthen democracy?

In an era when democracy is at critical risk, is it reasonable to expect the education system—already buckling under the ordeal of a global pandemic—to solve the converging problems of inequality, climate change, and erosion of trust in government and science? Will more civics instruction help? In Can Schools Save Democracy? Michael J. Feuer offers a new approach to addressing these questions with a strategy for improving the process and substance of civic education.

Although schooling alone cannot save democracy, it must play a part. Feuer introduces a framework for educator preparation that emphasizes collective action, experiential learning, and partnerships between schools and their complex constituencies. His proposed reform aims to equip teachers with an appreciation of the paradoxes of pluralism—in particular, the tensions between individual choice and social outcomes. And he offers practical suggestions for how to bring those concepts to life so that students in and out of the classroom acquire the skills, knowledge, and dispositions for enlightened democratic leadership.

Adopting a definition of public education that celebrates the engagement between schools and their environments, Feuer argues for reinforced partnerships within the education system and between educators and their diverse constituents. He anticipates new collaborations between education faculty and their colleagues in the behavioral, social, and physical sciences and humanities; stronger links between schools and their complex outside environments; and improved mechanisms for global cooperation. Can Schools Save Democracy? includes lively examples of how theoretical principles can inform familiar problems and offers a hopeful path for progress toward a stronger democracy.

Reviews

Reviews

In a democracy, the education of the young is the one true hope for its preservation. Thomas Jefferson knew that John Dewey knew that, and Michael Feuer reminds us once again. Hopefully, we listen to this important message.

At a time when one national political party has decided that the path to permanent political power goes through local school board elections, Feuer provides both scholars and practitioners with a timely and reasoned way forward on how schools can once again be called upon to save democracy by revitalizing civic education at a critical and pivotal moment in our history.

This is a deeply knowledgeable, deeply wise, deeply felt brief for civics education in public schools. Michael Feuer's optimism that schools can make a meaningful dent in our stubborn, stuck national political culture is inspiring, and it ought to be a spur to action.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
208
ISBN
9781421447773
Illustration Description
4 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Introduction [Prolog]
1. Free to Bruise: Political Economy and the Limits of Liberty
2. Civics as Process and Product: Origins and Opportunities
3. Curricular Options: Contents and Discontents
4. Beyond

Introduction [Prolog]
1. Free to Bruise: Political Economy and the Limits of Liberty
2. Civics as Process and Product: Origins and Opportunities
3. Curricular Options: Contents and Discontents
4. Beyond the Schoolhouse: A Collective Responsibility
Epilog: "Commons" Sense for Civic Education
References
Acknowledgments
Index

Author Bio
Michael J. Feuer
Featured Contributor

Michael J. Feuer

Michael J. Feuer (WASHINGTON, DC) has been dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University since 2010, following a 25-year career at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Academy of Sciences. He has held faculty positions at Drexel University and Georgetown, and is a past president of the National Academy of Education...