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March 30, 2017

Is Less Governance Always Better for Students?

Conservatives are partially right to advocate for less government, says Deborah Meier.

March 23, 2017

Our Democracy Is Weak Now, Let's Fight for It in Schools

The forms of democracy are weak now. Students, families, and teachers should fight for it, argues Deborah Meier.

February 21, 2017

Beyond 'Civics' Vs. 'Citizenship': Possibilities for Common Ground

The recent Making Citizens report is mistaken about the youth civic education initiative Public Achievement -- it reflects itself the mobilizing, good versus evil approach which has come to dominate public life in our time, the approach to politics it also decries. The debate has also illuminated possible common ground to integrate civics and citizenship education and move beyond binary thinking.

February 09, 2017

Beyond Polarization: Education for Civic Repair

It is an ineluctable dynamic that when one polarizes, one purifies. This means eliminating the complexity of "the other side" that one sees as the enemy. In my view this is a serious problem of the National Association of Scholars report, "Making Citizens." It collapses the vast diversity of the civic engagement movement into a left wing conspiracy undertaken with stealth and subterfuge. This is a caricature. Nonviolence as a philosophy brought together with repair of civic life points beyond today's polarization. We need a reawakening to nonviolence tied to repair of civic life.

February 07, 2017

Teaching Active Citizenship in Schools Is Worth It

Like allowing free speech in society, teaching democratic ideals in schools poses risks. But those risks are worthwhile, writes Deborah Meier.

February 02, 2017

Active Citizenship Should Be Learned Out of School

In this posting, David Randall, author of Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics, argues that civic life in America has benefited by abundant forms of civic participation and active citizenship is a welcome part of public life, but it doesn't belong in schools. Teachers cannot include civic practice since all are equally qualified to act as citizens by virtue of turning 18.

December 01, 2016

Turning Jobs Into Public Work

Facing a ferocious attack on the public purposes of education from the incoming Trump administration, it is crucial not to only focus on the dangers -- as real as they are. We also need to recognize the stirrings of a democracy movement in and around education. Overcoming the framing which is at the heart of the attack -- the false opposition of "vocational education" and "liberal arts and civic education" is key to building the power of this movement. Even the most insightful books from the democratic movement in education such as the new Dilemmas of Educational Ethics tend to reproduce the distinction. We need to claim our work as educational professional as public work, full of civic and democratic possibilities.

November 23, 2016

Pedagogy of the Empowered

Agency is not the same as activism. Civic agency is the capacity to work across differences on common problems and creation of common things including communities, and, broadly, democracy as a way of life. Schools -- and other educational institutions -- need to develop pedagogies of empowerment that teach the skills and habits of civic agency. This is the foundation for democracy.

November 22, 2016

Schools as Foundations of Democracy

Schools can play a powerful role in creating foundations of democratic thinking among students, writes Deborah Meier.

November 17, 2016

Remembering our Roots—Democracy of the People

The most important task after this dismal election is to remember the idea that animated America's founding --- democracy is people-centered, not politician-centered. Building foundations for this idea through people-owned schools -- free spaces -- which bring people together across partisan and other divides is a crucial task.

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