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ERIC Number: EJ764579
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0574
Finding Aristotle's Golden Mean: Social Justice and Academic Excellence
Rivera, John
Journal of Education, v186 n1 p79-85 2005
Over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle wrote a treatise on ethics in which he proposed that there were both intellectual and moral virtues to be developed in the human being. Virtue ("aristeia") was roughly equivalent to the English word "excellence" and the unifying virtue that was both a moral and an intellectual virtue was prudence. Excellence lay not in some intellectual ideal as his teacher, Plato, had suggested or simply in the knowledge of the good or true as Socrates had suggested, but in the "ability of a person to act excellently." Aristotle believed that in most instances right action lay in the intermediary point between two extremes of excess and lack, the golden mean. Education in these times has been plagued by often stultifying battles between extremes, each position containing important insights that are critical for promoting excellence in human development but are also distortions born of extremes. Educational battles in the last century have raged between intellectual and moral education, the sciences and the humanities, traditional and progressive education, behaviorism and constructivism, and between masculine and feminine. With the advent of new legislation, battles in education have centered on differing definitions and positions regarding social justice and accountability. A review of the extreme positions on social justice and accountability suggests that excellence in either social justice or academic achievement for students can only be met by meeting both goals simultaneously. There simply is no social justice without accountability for excellence in achievement and no accountability without social justice. This article discusses social justice and academic excellence, and reviews the extreme positions that place roadblocks to achieving both excellence and equity. The best social justice program a nation can offer its youth is an excellent education. This education begins in the home and includes the classroom and larger community. There is a need to continue to clarify the national vision, beyond the extremist ideological positions standing in opposition to one another, which serve to block progress to closing the achievement gap. Then it is necessary to develop a system where teachers can encourage student uniqueness while helping all learners achieve excellence.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A