Publication Date: April 28, 2023
Series: Multicultural Education Series
Our democracy is in crisis. Both political trust and a shared standard of truth are broken. In this book, Walter Parker shows why and how civic education can help. Offering a centrist approach suitable for a polarized society, Parker focuses on two linked curriculum objectives: disciplinary knowledge and voice. He illustrates how classroom discussion, alongside concept formation and deep reading, expand students’ minds while developing their ability to speak with others and form opinions. When children come to school, they emerge from the private chrysalis of babyhood and kin to interact with a diverse student body along with teachers, curriculum, instruction, and the school’s unique mission: education. Parker argues that these assets make school the ideal place to teach young people the liberal arts of studying and discussing public issues and academic controversies, both in and beyond school. The chapters in this collection, spanning 20 years and coming from one of civic education’s most influential scholars, show that voice can be taught right alongside disciplinary knowledge. Drawing students into dialogue with one another on the curriculum’s central questions is a teacher’s most ambitious goal and, when it happens, teaching’s greatest accomplishment.
Walter C. Parker is professor emeritus of social studies education at the University of Washington, a member of the National Academy of Education, a fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and author of Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life.