This issue is dedicated to Alfie Kohn, whose book, The Schools our Children Deserve, was the inspiration for the controversy we posed. Mr. Kohn wrote the prologue for the issue in which he reflects on the years since the publication of The Schools our Children Deserve and the need more than ever to be asking what kind of schools our children still deserve.
The issue is divided into three sections.
Section one is a series of articles written by distinguished scholars in response to the controversial scenario (see below) posed for the issue. Authors come at it from different perspectives and with different disciplinary tools, but together they form a vital chorus of important voices that look at “the education and schools our children deserve” from outside the dominant discourse that frames today’s political debates. Check out the interesting article on John Dewey by Mary Finn, entitled, "Dewey and an "Organizing Approach to Teaching."
Section two is an “In the News” section. Here we took a very controversial issue in the news, namely, the Arizona legislation to ban ethnic studies in the schools. Under the actual legislation that our readers can read in its entirety, we published an article from the director of the school district that was under attack. Augustine Romero tells his own story about the events that took place in Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District in his article, “The Hypocrisy of Racism: Arizona's Movement towards State-Sanctioned Apartheid.”
Section three is our attempt to give readers an idea of what a “school meant for children” would look like. This section embeds 23 videos of actual school classrooms in a multi-media article written by the head of the school, Susan Donnelly. The Educational Institute for Democratic renewal, that houses the Journal of Educational Controversy, has partnered with the school, the Whatcom Day Academy, as part of a network of schools started by John Goodlad called the National League of Democratic Schools.
The controversy addressed in the issue is:
The politicizing of education at the national level has centered on issues of standards, accountability, global competitiveness, national economic growth, low student achievement on worldwide norms, and federally mandated uniformity. There has been little discussion of the public purposes of our schools or what kind of education is necessary for an individual’s development and search for a meaningful life. There is a paucity of ideas being discussed at the national level around topics such as: how school practices can be aligned with democratic principles of equity and justice; how school practices can promote the flourishing of individual development as well as academic achievement; what skills and understandings are needed for citizens to play a transformative role in their society. Without conversation at this deeper level about the fundamental purposes of education, we cannot develop a comprehensive vision of the kinds of schools our children deserve. We invite authors to contribute their conceptions of the kind of education our children deserve and/or the kinds of schools that serve the needs of individuals and of a democratic society.The Journal of Educational Controversy is expanding its pool of reviewers. For consideration, e-mail a letter of interest and vita to firstname.lastname@example.org