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Educating Citizens

International Perspectives on Civic Values and School Choice

David J. Ferrero and Stephen Macedo, eds.. with contributions byDavid J. Ferrero and Charles Venegoni

Publication Year: 2004

In the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling upholding school choice, policymakers across the country are grappling with the challenge of funding and regulating private schools. Towns, cities, and states are experimenting with a variety of policies, including vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools. Meanwhile, public officials and citizens continue to debate the issues at the heart of the matter: Why should the government regulate education? Who should do the regulating? How should private schools be regulated, and how much?

These questions represent new terrain for many policymakers in the United States. Europe and Canada, however, have struggled with these issues for decades or, in some cases, even a century or more. In this groundbreaking volume, scholars from Europe and the United States come together to ask what Americans can learn from other countries' experience with publicly funded educational choice.

This experience is both extensive and varied. In England and Wales, parents play a significant role in selecting the schools their children will attend. In the Netherlands and much of Belgium, most students attend religious schools at government expense. In Canada, France and Germany, state-financed school choice is limited to circumstances that serve particular social and governmental needs. In Italy, school choice has just recently arrived on the policy agenda.

In analyzing these cases, the authors focus on how school choice policies have shaped and been shaped by civic values such as tolerance, civic cohesion, and integration across class, religious, and racial lines. They explore the systems of regulation, accountability, and control that accompany public funding, ranging from the testing-based mechanisms of Alberta to the more intrusive inspection systems of Britain, Germany, and France. And they discuss the relevance of these experiences for the United States. These essays illuminate many ways in which the public interest in education may be preserved or even enhanced in an era of increased parental choice. Based on a wealth of experience and expertise, Educating Citizens will aid policymakers and citizens as they consider historic changes in American public education policy.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Title Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

Opponents of greater choice in K–12 education worry that choice will increase the power of religious and ideological extremists, promoting social fragmentation, greater inequality in education, and further erosion of shared civic values. ...

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Chapter 1. Introduction: School Choice, Civic Values, and Problems of Policy Comparison

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pp. 1-28

Our mandate for contributors to this volume was, at least apparently, simple. The United States is in the midst of historic experiments with publicly funding school choice in K–12 education. Other nations have long experience with the funding and regulation of nonpublic schools (as we would call them), including religious schools. ...

Part 1. Country Case Studies

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Chapter 2. Regulating School Choice to Promote Civic Values: Constitutional and Political Issues in the Netherlands

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pp. 31-66

Freedom of education has always been a main characteristic of the Dutch school system. This freedom has two dimensions. First, groups of individuals are, within certain legal limits, free to establish and operate state-independent primary and secondary schools according to their own religious, philosophical, or pedagogical principles. ...

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Chapter 3. Private Schools as Public Provision for Education: School Choice and Market Forces in the Netherlands

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pp. 67-90

Unlike parents in most areas of the United States, parents in different European societies have a real choice of comparable schools, both public and private, and they can exercise their options without paying very high fees. Most often the private schools are Catholic or Protestant schools that operate within ...

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Chapter 4. Regulation, Choice, and Basic Values in Education in England and Wales: A Legal Perspective

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pp. 91-130

The political, economic, and philosophical underpinnings of the development of school choice in England and Wales have been well covered by scholars.1 Less attention, however, has been paid to the role of law. The educational policy literature understandably adopts a broad-brush approach to the legal dimension ...

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Chapter 5. School Choice Policies and Social Integration: The Experience of England and Wales

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pp. 131-156

In the United Kingdom, parents may express their preference for any statefunded school that they wish to educate their children, as well as choose to pay for a private school. All schools therefore are choice schools, and the range of types of schools within the publicly funded sector is growing, ...

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Chapter 6. Regulating School Choice in Belgium's Flemish Community

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pp. 157-186

The framing of education legislation and chiefly the question of school choice were historically and remain today among the key political issues in Belgium. In 1830 Belgium became an independent unitary and centralized state. Between 1970 and 1993, the 1831 constitution was reformed in several steps ...

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Chapter 7. The Civic Implications of Canada's Education System

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pp. 187-212

In 2001, the government of the Canadian province of Ontario announced that it would grant tax credits for tuition paid to private—including religious—elementary and secondary schools. The policy detonated an explosive debate within Ontario over the role of private, particularly religious, schools in a pluralistic democracy. ...

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Chapter 8. School Choice and Civic Values in Germany

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pp. 213-237

Over most of its history, Germany has had a dual system of public and private educational institutions, though the emphasis of this system has shifted through the centuries. The history of institutionalized schooling in Germany began in the eighth century with the establishment of monastery and church schools. ...

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Chapter 9. School Choice and Its Regluation in France

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pp. 238-267

The Conseil Constitutionnel, roughly speaking the French equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote in a decision handed down in 1977 that “liberty of teaching” (la liberté de l’enseignement) is “one of the basic principles recognized by the laws of the Republic” and one on which the Constitution of 1958 ...

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Chapter 10. Italy: The Impossible Choice

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pp. 268-286

Questions about the public regulation of nonpublic schools and the role that such regulation should play in U.S. education policy cannot be immediately and obviously answered by examining Italy’s experience, for two basic reasons. First of all, school choice was not considered an educational issue in Italy until the 1990s. ...

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Chapter 11. Do Public and Religious Schools Really Differ? Assessing the European Evidence

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pp. 287-312

As the preceding chapters in this volume demonstrate, parental choice in education—parents’ freedom to choose their children’s school—is a major topic in educational policy in many European nations.1 In Europe as in the United States, parental choice in educational systems often is advocated as a means ...

Part 2. Analysis and Commentary

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Chapter 12. Civic Republicanism, Political Pluralism, and the Regulation of Private Schools

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pp. 315-323

In reviewing the various chapters in this volume, one is struck by the difficulties inherent in the formulation of the question raised in the title of the conference that gave rise to the volume: “Regulating School Choice to Promote Civic Values: What Can the U.S. Learn from the Experience of Other Nations?” ...

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Chapter 13. Regulatory Strings and Religious Freedom: Requiring Private Schools to Promote Public Values

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pp. 324-338

In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that governments may, consistent with the First Amendment, allow religious schools to participate in school choice programs.1 That the Constitution permits us to experiment with programs that include religious schools, however, does not mean that we should. ...

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Chapter 14. School Choice as a Question of Design

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pp. 339-354

We suddenly find citizens and legislatures making all kinds of demands upon the school system,” wrote a Teachers College professor more than eighty years ago. “Since many of the proposals that are being made among us have been exemplified in the school systems of other nations, it might be well for us, ...

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Chapter 15. Regulation in Public and Private Schools in the United States

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pp. 355-367

There is a legendary television commercial in the folklore of American school choice battles. It appeared in conjunction with a referendum to create private school tuition tax credits in the state of Oregon in 1992. The commercial begins with a tight, close-up shot of a teacher writing in chalk on a blackboard. ...

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Chapter 16. A Regulated Market Model: Considering School Choice in the Netherlands as a Model for the United States

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pp. 368-382

The Dutch example demonstrates that open educational choice that includes the public subsidy of religious schools can exist without weakening civic cohesion. Indeed, there is much to suggest that choice can be part of a system that strengthens it. Evidence from parental preferences and student attitudes, for example, ...


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pp. 383-384


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pp. 385-397

E-ISBN-13: 9780815796688
E-ISBN-10: 0815796684

Page Count: 397
Publication Year: 2004