Making Good Citizens

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Education and Civil Society

Edited by Diane Ravitch and Joseph P. Viteritti

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Price: $37.00
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Americans have reason to be concerned about the condition of American democracy at the start of the twenty-first century. Surveys show that civic participation has declined, cynicism about government has increased, and young people have a weak grasp of the principles that underlie our constitutional system. Crucial questions must be answered: How serious is the situation? What role do schools play in shaping civic behavior? Are current education reform initiatives—such as multiculturalism and school choice—counterproductive? How can schools contribute toward reversing the trend?

This volume brings together leading thinkers from a variety of disciplines to probe the relation between a healthy democracy and education. Their original and provocative discussions cut across a range of important topics: the cultivation of democratic values, the formation of social capital in schools and communities, political conflict in a pluralist society, the place of religion in public life, the enduring problems of racial inequality. Gathering together the most current research and thinking on education and civil society, this is a book that deserves the attention of everyone who cares about the quality and future of American democracy.

Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education, School of Education, New York University, and holder of the Brown Chair in Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. Joseph P. Viteritti is Research Professor of Public Policy, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University. Professors Ravitch and Viteritti are coeditors of New Schools for a New Century, published by Yale University Press.

Other contributors to this volume:
William M. Damon, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Nathan Glazer, Charles L. Glenn, Gerald Grant, Mark Holmes, Norman H. Nie, Warren A. Nord, Robert D. Putnam, Jack N. Rakove, Rosemary C. Salomone, and Alan Wolfe

“This is a focused and well-edited collection of essays by first-rate scholars representing a wide range of disciplines. Making Good Citizens greatly advances our understanding of the history, theory, and practice of education for democracy.”—William A. Galston, Professor, Maryland School of Public Affairs  

“Ravitch and Viteritti have produced an edited volume of essays, Making Good Citizens, that challenges the conventional view that public education is vital to the nation’s civic health. The collection includes an impressive array of authors, not all of whom are explicit advocates of private-school choice, but whose essays, taken as a whole, make an audacious three-part argument that public support for private schools will strengthen democracy in America.”—Richard D. Kahlenberg, American Prospect

“This book should be warmly recommended to anyone interested in how schools shape future citizens.”—Kevin B. Smith,

“Ravitch and Viteritti assemble an interdisciplinary set of essays from diverse fields such as education, public policy, social and political ethics, sociology, law, and religion to treat intriguing connections between U.S . citizenship and its schools. . . . Recommended for graduate, research, and professional collections.”—Choice

"No matter where the reader’s own sympathies lie, he or she will be served by [Making Good Citizens]. . . . In [this book], several contributions offer trenchant insights on the relation among education, religion, and civic involvement."—David Steiner, Journal of Education

“There’s something here for everyone, from the academic interested in data to the common citizen wondering what, if anything, is wrong with American education. The essays are well written and thought-provoking.”—Library Journal

“This thought-provoking collection is a useful start for considering how our schools might move beyond the platitudes of multiculturalism.”—Gary Rosen, New York Times Book Review

"These essays engage a reader in a lively intellectual discourse with some of the brightest minds thinking seriously about education’s role in a civic society. This book should be warmly recommended to anyone interested in how schools shape future citizens.”—Kevin B. Smith, Perspectives on Politics

"Every one of the . . . essays caused me to question my assumptions about education and about civic life. . . . Well worth reading."—Kenneth B. Perkins, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

ISBN: 9780300099171
Publication Date: August 11, 2003
368 pages, 6 x 9
5 graphs
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Edited by Diane Ravitch and Joseph P. Viteritti

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