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Dewey's Dream

Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform

Lee Benson

Publication Year: 2007

This timely, persuasive, and hopeful book reexamines John Dewey's idea of schools, specifically community schools, as the best places to grow a democratic society that is based on racial, social, and economic justice. The authors assert that American colleges and universities bear a responsibility for-and would benefit substantially from-working with schools to develop democratic schools and communities.

Dewey's Dream opens with a reappraisal of Dewey's philosophy and an argument for its continued relevance today. The authors-all well-known in education circles-use illustrations from over 20 years of experience working with public schools in the University of Pennsylvania's local ecological community of West Philadelphia, to demonstrate how their ideas can be put into action. By emphasizing problem-solving as the foundation of education, their work has awakened university students to their social responsibilities. And while the project is still young, it demonstrates that Dewey's "Utopian ends" of creating optimally participatory democratic societies can lead to practical, constructive school, higher education and community change, development, and improvement.

Published by: Temple University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book is not a traditional scholarly work. It is a democratic manifesto designed to help transform America into a truly participatory democracy—the model “city on a hill” dedicated to realizing John Dewey’s inspiring utopian vision of a worldwide, organic “Great Community” composed of truly participatory, democratic, collaborative, and interdependent societies. ...

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Introduction: Dewey’s Lifelong Crusade for Participatory Democracy

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pp. xi-xiv

In the rapidly accelerating global era in which we now live, human beings must solve a vast array of unprecedently complex problems. Perhaps the most complex and most frightening problem is, what is to be done to prevent the possibility of a world perpetually terrorized by suicidal fanatics ...

Part I

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Chapter 1: Michigan Beginnings, 1884–1894

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pp. 3-12

In 1884 Dewey completed graduate work in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and began teaching at the University of Michigan. A committed Christian and Hegelian philosopher, he had little interest in societal theory or problems of democracy. By 1888, however, his interests and orientation had changed radically. ...

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Chapter 2: Dewey at the University of Chicago, 1894–1904

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pp. 13-44

If our propositions are not taken literally, John Dewey primarily became Dewey in Chicago and henceforth essentially lived off the intellectual capital he developed at that university and in that city. Obviously, we deliberately oversimplify and exaggerate to help make our basic point: ...

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Chapter 3: Dewey Leaves the University of Chicago for Columbia University

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pp. 45-62

Soon after his 1902 address to the National Education Association, John Dewey quarreled with William Rainey Harper and others over the operation of the remarkably comprehensive School of Education, which Harper had finally succeeded in creating to implement his long-held vision of a highly integrated schooling system, ...

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Chapter 4: Elsie Clapp’s Contributions to Community Schools

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pp. 63-74

Recognizing those responsibilities as logical extensions of Dewey’s general theory, his protégé Elsie Clapp attempted to organize community schools that could provide something like the kind of collaborative, community problem-solving, instrumental education most likely to develop higher levels of instrumental intelligence in individuals, communities, and societies. ...

Part II

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Chapter 5: Penn and the Third Revolution in American Higher Education

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pp. 77-92

As emphasized in Chapter 2, the president of the University of Chicago, William Rainey Harper, significantly helped John Dewey see the critically important role the schooling system must play in the development of a democratic American society. …

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Chapter 6: The Center for Community Partnerships

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pp. 93-110

Encouraged by the success of the university’s increasing engagement with West Philadelphia, in July 1992 President Hackney created the Center for Community Partnerships. To highlight the importance he attached to the center, he located it in the office of the president and appointed Ira Harkavy to be its director, ...

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Chapter 7:The University Civic Responsibility Idea Becomes an International Movement

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pp. 111-120

The accelerating positive changes in Penn’s relationship to its local schools and community are neither atypical nor unique to Penn. More or less similar changes taking place throughout the United States testify to the emergence of a University Civic Responsibility movement ...

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Chapter 8: John Dewey, the Coalition for Community Schools, and Developing a Participatory Democratic American Society

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pp. 121-126

As noted in previous chapters, during the twentieth century a variety of “movements” for community schools episodically rose and fell in the United States. Beginning in the mid-1980s, a powerful revival was under way, and efforts to link schools and communities grew exponentially. ...

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pp. 127-128

We wish to acknowledge our gratitude to our school and community partners, as well as the staff of the Center for Community Partnerships, particularly its longstanding associate directors, Cory Bowman, Joann Weeks, and Winnie Smart Mapp. ...


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pp. 129-130


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pp. 131-142


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pp. 143-150

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About the Authors

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pp. 151

John Puckett is Associate Professor in the Policy, Management, and Evaluation Division of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781592135936
Print-ISBN-13: 9781592135929

Page Count: 149
Publication Year: 2007