Public Policy and the Public Good

By Ethan Fishman | Go to book overview

3
The Tide Just Keeps Rising: An Aristotelian Perspective on the Crisis in American Education

R. Bruce Douglass

Our nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. . . . [T]he educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. . . . If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. . . . We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.

-- National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk ( 1983)

But of all the things that I have mentioned that which most contributes to the permanence of constitutions is the adaptation of education to the form of government, and yet in our own day this principle is universally neglected. The best laws, though sanctioned by every citizen of the state, will be of no avail unless the young are trained by habit and education in the spirit of the constitution. . . . For there may be a want of self-discipline in states as well as individuals.

-- Aristotle, Politics

Aristotle was no democrat. But then neither was Locke. And for all of the affinity between liberalism and the democratic idea that we in this country have come to take for granted, it is arguable that there are lessons Aristotle has to teach from which contemporary democrats could well benefit.

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Public Policy and the Public Good
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • 1: The Rabbi and the Fig Tree: A Lesson for the Supreme Court on Capital Punishment 1
  • References 12
  • 2 - Plato and the Media 15
  • References 27
  • 3 - The Tide Just Keeps Rising: An Aristotelian Perspective on the Crisis in American Education 29
  • References 44
  • 4 - Aquinas, Prudence, and Health Care Policy 47
  • Notes 60
  • Notes 61
  • 5: Martin Luther on Political Leadership 63
  • References 78
  • 6 - A Hobbesian Analysis of the Dangers of Interest-Group Liberalism 81
  • Notes 95
  • 7 - Native Peoples and Lockean Philosophy: Land Claims and Self-Government 97
  • References 109
  • 8: The Republican Tradition and Affirmative Action 111
  • References 125
  • 9 - Surrogate Motherhood: Contract, Gender, and Liberal Politics 127
  • Notes 141
  • References 141
  • 10 - Marx and the Computer 143
  • References 153
  • Selected Bibliography 157
  • Index 161
  • About the Contributors 165
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