Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform : Civil Society, Public Schools, and Democratic Citizenship

Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform : Civil Society, Public Schools, and Democratic Citizenship

Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform : Civil Society, Public Schools, and Democratic Citizenship

Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform : Civil Society, Public Schools, and Democratic Citizenship

Synopsis

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 Dreamopens with a re-appraisal 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.

Excerpt

It is not possible to run a course aright when the goal itself
is not rightly placed
.

FRANCIS BACON, NOVUM ORGANON (1620)

The true starting point of history is always some present
situation with its problems
.

JOHN DEWEY, DEMOCRACY AND EDUCATION (1916)

Democracy must begin at home, and its home is the
neighborly community
.

JOHN DEWEY, THE PUBLIC AND ITS PROBLEMS (1927)

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 capable of acquiring and using scientifically and technologically advanced weapons of mass destruction to produce horrors instantly experienced by a worldwide audience? Given the proclaimed dedication of universities to critical intelligence, and their unique constellation of formidable resources to develop it, academics, we submit, have a unique responsibility to help solve that problem—indeed all the problems intensified by globalization.

To cope with the perilous situation we now confront in our radically different world, our more or less continued adherence to . . .

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