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March 28, 2017

Empowering Students: When the Last Become First

In learning civic skills and taking public action through the citizen politics approach, students, often on the margins, change expectations and challenge school cultures. They also illustrate the power of "a different kind of politics" beyond the Manichean mindset.

March 14, 2017

Democratic School Communities in Unexpected Places

If we want to build a broad, majority coalition for democratic educational reform with a strong emphasis on communities, we need to look in places that are not part of the conventional progressive horizon.

March 06, 2017

Schools and the Freedom Struggle in an Orwellian World

In the age of the smart machine and Big Data, educators are called to find common ground across partisan divides in the fight for freedom against the looming dangers of an Orwellian world. The old idea of schools and colleges as social centers, or civic sites, is a resource.

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.

January 26, 2017

A Different Kind of Politics

We need a different kind of politics beyond binary thinking -- in education and more broadly. This is active citizenship, beyond left and right. We have profound resources in our history.

January 24, 2017

Does Civics Belong in the Classroom?

This posting by David Randall, chief author of "Making Citizens," the new report from the National Association of Scholars, charges that the "new civics," aimed at turning America's youth into left wing activists, has replaced the "old civics," teaching students about the operations of government.

January 12, 2017

We the People Vs. a Chosen Body: A Debate as Old as the Nation

The new report by the National Association of Scholars, Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics, reopens a debate as old as the nation -- is democracy is elections, or the ongoing work of the people?

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.

September 13, 2016

Beyond the Melting Pot—The Powers of Citizens

The definition of citizens as co-creators adds dimensions of power beyond voting. It holds potential to challenge the "melting pot" definition of success in America, revitalizing cultural pluralism, the hidden genius of diverse cultural communities, and generating a less materialistic understanding of the American dream. How can we develop assessment practices and norms to evaluate the skills and capacities of cooperative effort and cultural development?

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