Beyond Liberal Democracy in Schools: The Power of Pluralism (Advances in Contemporary Educational Thought Series)

Beyond Liberal Democracy in Schools: The Power of Pluralism (Advances in Contemporary Educational Thought Series)

ISBN: 9780807748657
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Publication Date: 2008-03-14
Number of pages: 216
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''A wise, lively, and enticing book studded with personal observations and revealing interviews. This exciting book will expand readers' perspectives while adding color and light to what they already know.'' --From the Foreword by Maxine Greene, Professor Emerita, Teachers College, Columbia University

''A path-breaking book! Barbara Thayer-Bacon provides a timely, sophisticated, and accessible socialist feminist analysis of U.S. political culture and public education. Thayer-Bacon imagines the ethical and moral possibilities of cultural pluralism for reinvigorating human solidarity in public life.'' --Stephen N. Haymes, DePaul University


In this unique union of philosophy and ethnographic research, Barbara Thayer-Bacon explains how the individualist legacy of liberal democracy, as conceived by Locke and Rosseau, ignores and excludes the needs of American students raised in cultures with strong communal traditions. Drawing upon her experience with the educational methods of other cultures as well as the work of modern educational philosophers such as Dewey, Barber, Young, and Mouffe and Laclau, Thayer-Bacon shows us how our current vision of the democratic process as revealed in school practices routinely fails minority students. She offers recommendations to help us develop learning environments for students that are culturally aware, anti-racist, and relationally focused. This radical reimagining of American schools will be beneficial to researchers and practitioners alike. This book illustrates how current educational theories marginalize students belonging to a variety of minority populations (Native American, Mexican American, African American), offers a new theory of educational philosophy that values both individuals and communities and makes room for emotion and intuition as learning tools, and envisions new ways of teaching based on the author's experiences studying and observing schools in other cultures.

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