While one of the primary goals of public schools is to teach students how to build better communities, this goal is increasingly difficult given the degree of political polarization within societies. Recent events provide no shortage of challenges to democracy in the United States and beyond. There is an increasing need to rethink democratic principles and how these principles might be supported in classrooms in order to teach for social justice.
We address these challenges in our new book entitled, Education for Democracy: A Renewed Approach to Civic Inquiries for Social Justice. We build a vision of education for democracy built around promoting equity and social justice. In doing so, we critically examine many of the common perspectives of democratic education, deliberation, and the common good. We also utilize theory and research to promote instructional methods that are responsive to changing cultural and political contexts.
Our model of education for democracy focuses on instructional methods that move away from overly idealistic notions of deliberative democracy, toward a perspective of education for democracy that incorporates aspects of identity, varied interests, and power relations within societies.