ERIC Number: ED310044
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Jun
Chartered Pluralism; Reforging a Public Philosophy for Public Education. A Background Paper on the School Curriculum Project: Living with Our Deepest Differences.
Williamsburg Charter Foundation, Washington, DC.
How people live with each other's deepest differences is one of the world's most pressing dilemmas. In this pluralistic age the all too common response has been bigotry, fanaticism, terrorism, and state repression. In the United States, the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment, the public school movement, and the presence of a public philosophy (a common vision for the common good), have tempered the forces of faction and self-interest and helped transform U.S. diversity into a source of national richness and strength. However, increased pluralism has resulted in controversy surrounding the relationships among the First Amendment, the public schools, and the public philosophy. Public schools are the storm center because they are the principal national institution entrusted with passing on the identity and mission of the United States from generation to generation. The Williamsburg Charter, which was drafted by representatives of America's leading faiths and presented to the nation on June 25, 1988, could serve as a public philosophy for public education since it embodies a vision of chartered pluralism that switches the accent from unity at the expense of diversity to unity in the interests of diversity. The source of unity is expressly not religious or irreligious; it is the common rights and responsibilities of citizens of all faiths or none. The nation needs to reach the stage where genuine disagreement becomes an achievement and genuine debate a democratic virtue. A eight-item bibliography is included. (JB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Williamsburg Charter Foundation, Washington, DC.