Political and Social Foundation of Education

Political and Social Foundation of Education

Political and Social Foundation of Education

Political and Social Foundation of Education

Excerpt

This book is an effort to talk to political scientists and educators about what is happening to American schools. The diversity of these audiences, even though they provide most of our concepts, makes difficult the writing of a book that will reach both. Their disciplines seem to have a common focus in the school and its relationship to the community. Yet, oddly enough, recent political science has had little to say about schools, even though classical political theory did deal with them. Rather, for reasons not altogether clear, political scientists, although they have applied their concepts and methods of research to every other institution, have avoided applying them to this one. We notice the oddity of a political discipline's ignoring governing units and electoral contests more numerous than any others in America.

In addition, scholars of education who did focus upon the schools applied perspectives and methods different from those used by the political scientist. Among the social sciences, sociology and (to a lesser degree) economics have shaped most of these scholars' analytical approaches. Aside from a stray item, most of what political science was doing, particularly after the post-World War II behavioral refocus, did not cross over to these scholars. This studied ignorance of each other's work was unbroken even occasionally by a scholar's calling the other discipline to pay attention.

Typically, the ever present course in Social Foundations, designed to inculcate the teacher- and administrator-initiate with the school's connectivity with society, was heavy on sociology and skimpy--hence superficial -- on political science. Also typically, political science courses on state and local government or policy analysis, designed to cause laymen or apprentice public administrators to think politically, were heavy on urban government or policies of business or labor but skimpy -- hence superficial -- on school politics.

This mutual blindness or indifference was reinforced by a popular notion . . .

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