In an era when democracy is at critical risk, is it reasonable to expect the education system--already buckling under the ordeal of a global pandemic--to solve the converging problems of inequality, climate change, and erosion of trust in government and science? Will more civics instruction help? In Can Schools Save Democracy? Michael J. Feuer offers a new approach to addressing these questions with a strategy for improving the process and substance of civic education.
Although schooling alone cannot save democracy, it must play a part. Feuer introduces a framework for educator preparation that emphasizes collective action, experiential learning, and partnerships between schools and their complex constituencies. His proposed reform aims to equip teachers with an appreciation of the paradoxes of pluralism--in particular, the tensions between individual choice and social outcomes. And he offers practical suggestions for how to bring those concepts to life so that students in and out of the classroom acquire the skills, knowledge, and dispositions for enlightened democratic leadership.
Adopting a definition of public education that celebrates the engagement between schools and their environments, Feuer argues for reinforced partnerships within the education system and between educators and their diverse constituents. He anticipates new collaborations between education faculty and their colleagues in the behavioral, social, and physical sciences and humanities; stronger links between schools and their complex outside environments; and improved mechanisms for global cooperation. Can Schools Save Democracy? includes lively examples of how theoretical principles can inform familiar problems and offers a hopeful path for progress toward a stronger democracy.
Michael J. Feuer is Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Professor of Education Policy at the George Washington University, past president of the National Academy of Education, and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He came to GW in 2010 after a 17-year tenure in leadership roles at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Previously Feuer was senior analyst and project director at the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment. He was appointed by President Obama in 2014 to the National Board for Education Sciences, and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Educational Research Association. In addition to many edited volumes and journal articles, Feuer is the author of Moderating the Debate: Rationality and the Promise of American Education (2006), and The Rising Price of Objectivity: Philanthropy, Government, and the Future of Education Research (2016), both published by Harvard Education Press.Feuer received his BA in English from Queens College (CUNY), MA in public management from the Wharton School, and PhD in public policy from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been on the faculty of Drexel University and Georgetown. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife Regine.The Feuers have two grown children.
Feuer will be in conversation with Valerie Strauss. Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Washington Post's long-running Answer Sheet blog. She sees the education beat broadly and writes about the practice, politics, sociology and psychology. She writes her own pieces and publishes on her blog the work of students, teachers, parents, researchers and others to offer readers' views other than hers. She has over the years covered and investigated education issues on the local, state and federal levels, as well as preK-12 and higher education and public and private schools. She has attempted to hold policymakers accountable during both Republican and Democratic administrations. She came to the Post as an assistant foreign editor for Asia in 1987 and worked as weekend foreign desk editor during some of the most riveting moments in modern times, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China and the collapse of the Soviet empire. She led award-winning projects on the Cultural Revolution and the plight of women in third-world countries. She came to the Post from Reuters, where she worked as national security editor and a military/foreign affairs reporter on Capitol Hill. Before that she was assistant foreign editor of United Press International, and worked in the Miami bureau of UPI, covering national stories such as relations with Cuba (where she traveled when the country was still closed to Americans), riots and immigration issues. At The Los Angeles Times she was an editor.
This event is free with first come, first served seating.