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Education > Philosophy and Social Aspects
Protecting Innocence in a Carceral State
“Childhood has never been available to all.” In her opening chapter of For the Children?, Erica R. Meiners stakes the claim that childhood is a racial category often unavailable to communities of color. According to Meiners, this is glaringly evident in the U.S. criminal justice system, where the differentiation between child and adult often equates to access to stark disparities. And, what is constructed as child protection under closer examination, often does not benefit many young people or their communities. Placing the child at the heart of the targeted criminalization debate, For the Children? considers how perceptions of innocence, the safe child, and the future operate in service of the prison industrial complex.
The United States has the largest prison population in the world, with incarceration and policing being key economic tools to maintain white supremacist ideologies. Meiners examines the school-to-prison pipeline and the broader prison industrial complex in the U.S., arguing that unpacking child protection is vital to reducing the nation’s reliance on its criminal justice system as well as building authentic modes of public safety. Rethinking the meanings and beliefs attached to the child represent a significant and intimate thread of the work to dismantle facets of the U.S. carceral state.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach and building from a scholar and activist platform, For the Children? engages fresh questions in the struggle to build sustainable and flourishing worlds without prisons.
Autobiography and the Politics of Pedagogy
Francophonie, minorités et pédagogie regroupe des textes de sociologues et sociolinguistes activement impliqués dans la recherche sur l’éducation de minorités linguistiques au sein de la Francophonie. La richesse en diversité de ces textes permet de souligner l’apport de la sociolinguistique en matière d’analyse des politiques éducatives. De même, ce collectif met en lumière la contribution de la sociolinguistique en matière de production de connaissances mais aussi de développement d’une pédagogie visant une inclusion et le respect du groupe minoritaire au-delà de toutes frontières.
A Journey into Radical Progressive Education
Free School Teaching is the personal and professional journey of one teacher within the American educational system. Faced with mounting frustrations in her own traditional, middle school classroom and having little success in resolving them, Kristan Accles Morrison decided to seek out answers, first by immersing herself in the academic literature of critical education theory and then by turning to the field. While the literature on progressive education gave her hope that things could be different and better for students locked into America’s traditional education system, she wanted to find a firsthand example of how these ideas played out in practice. Morrison found a radical “free school” in Albany, New York, that embodied the ideas found in the literature, and over a period of three months she observed and documented differences between alternative and traditional schools. In trying to reconcile the gap between those systems, Morrison details the lessons she learned about teachers, students, curriculum, and the entire conception of why we educate our children.
Academic and Social Responsibilities of Universities in Africa
This book, slim as it looks, took Bernard Nsokika Fonlon the best part of five laborious years to write 1965-9 inclusive. He writes: "I was penning away as students in France were up in arms against the academic Establishment, and their fury almost toppled a powerful, prestigious, political giant like General de Gaulle. In America students, arms in hand, besieged and stormed the buildings of the University Administration, others blew up lecture halls in Canada - the student revolt, a very saeva indignatio, was in paroxysm. But in England (save in the London School of Economics where students rioted for the lame reason that the College gate looked like that of a jail-house) all was calm..." Fonlon drew on these events to define the role of university education in this precious treasure of a book, which he dedicates to every African freshman and freshwoman. The book details his reflections and vision on the scientific and philosophical Nature, End and Purpose of university studies. He calls on African students to harness the Scientific Method in their quest for Truth, and to put the specialised knowledge they acquire to the benefit of the commonwealth first, then, to themselves. To do this effectively, universities must jealously protect academic freedom from all non-academic interferences. For any university that does not teach a student to think critically and in total freedom has taught him or her nothing of genuine worth. Universities are and must remain sacred places and spaces for the forging of genuine intellectuals imbued with skills and zeal to assume and promote social responsibilities with self abnegation.
Moral Perfectionism and Education in Dewey and Emerson
In the name of efficiency, the practice of education has come to be dominated by neoliberal ideology andprocedures of standardization and quantification. Such attempts to make all aspects of practice transparent and subject to systematic accounting lack sensitivity to the invisible and the silent, to something in the humancondition that cannot readily be expressed in an either-or form. Seeking alternatives to such trends, Saito readsDewey's idea of progressive education through the lens of Emersonian moral perfectionism (to borrow a term coined by Stanley Cavell). She elucidates a spiritual and aesthetic dimension to Dewey's notion of growth, one considerably richer than what Dewey alone presents in his typically scientific terminology.
Classical Education in America
The pragmatic demands of American life have made higher education's sustained study of ancient Greece and Rome an irrelevant luxury, ;and this despite the fact that American democracy depends so heavily on classical language, literature, and political theory. In The Grammar of Our Civility, Lee T. Pearcy chronicles how this came to be. Pearcy argues that classics never developed a distinctly American way of responding to distinctly American social conditions. Instead, American classical education simply imitated European models that were designed to underwrite European culture. The Grammar of Our Civility also offers a concrete proposal for the role of classical education, one that takes into account practical expectations for higher education in twenty-first century America.
Talking about Religion and Morality in Public Schools
Weaving together history, philosophy, and curriculum, Grappling with the Good offers a vision of public education in which students learn to engage respectfully with the diversity of beliefs about how to live together in society. Robert Kunzman argues that we can and should help students learn how to talk about religion and morality, and bring together our differing visions of life. He describes how such an approach might work in the K–12 setting, explores central philosophical principles, and shares his ongoing experiences and insights in helping students to “grapple with the good.”
Writing Beyond the Curriculum in the City of Brotherly Love
In Gravyland, Parks chronicles the history of an urban university writing program and its attempt to develop politically progressive literacy partnerships with the surrounding community while having to work within and against a traditional educational and cultural landscape. He details the experience of the New City Writing program at Temple University from its beginning as a small institute with one program at a local public school to a multi-faceted organization, raising millions of dollars, and establishing partnerships across the diverse neighborhoods of Philadelphia. In doing so, the author describes classrooms where the community takes a seat and becomes part of the conversation—a conversation which is recorded and shared through a selection of writing produced. While Parks celebrates classroom success in generating knowledge through dialog with the larger community, he also highlights many of the obstacles the organizers of the New City Writing program faced. The author shows that writing alliances between universities and communities are possible but they must take into account the institutional, economic, and political pressures that accompany such partnerships. Blending the theoretical and practical lessons learned, Parks details New City Writing’s effort to offer a new model of education, one in which the voice of the professor must share space with the voices of the community, and one in which students come to understand that the right to sit in a classroom is not just the result of war, but of peaceful civil disobedience, of community struggles to gain self-recognition, and of collective efforts to seek social justice.