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ERIC Number: ED474166
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 53
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Educating the "Good" Citizen: The Politics of School-Based Civic Education Programs.
Westheimer, Joel; Kahne, Joseph
Educators and policymakers are increasingly pursuing a broad variety of programs that aim to promote democracy through civic education, service learning, and other pedagogies. Their underlying beliefs, however, differ. For some, a commitment to democracy is associated with liberal notions of freedom, while for others democracy is primarily about equality of opportunity. For some, civil society is the key, while others place their hope for social change in healthy free markets. For some, good citizens in a democracy volunteer, while for others they take active parts in political processes by voting. This paper calls attention to the spectrum of ideas about what good citizenship is and what good citizens do. The paper underscores the political implications of education for democracy and suggests that the narrow and often ideologically conservative conception of citizenship embedded in many current efforts at teaching for democracy reflects not arbitrary choices, but rather political choices with political consequences. It details three conceptions of the good citizen: (1) personally responsible, (2) participatory, and (3) justice oriented. States that these emerged from analysis of both democratic theory and a two year study of 10 educational programs aiming to promote democracy. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from the two programs studied, the paper argues that these three conceptions embody significantly different beliefs regarding what citizens need for democracy to flourish. They carry significantly different implications for pedagogy, curriculum, evaluation, and educational policy. Politics and interests of varied groups are often deeply embedded in the ways people conceptualize, implement, and study efforts to educate for democracy. Includes seven notes and four tables. Contains 64 references. (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A