American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens: Supporting Democracy in the Age of Accountability

ISBN : 9780190657383

Sarah Marie Stitzlein
232 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2017
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Public school systems are central to a flourishing democracy, where children learn how to solve problems together, build shared identities, and come to value justice and liberty for all. However, as citizen support for public schools steadily declines, our democratic way of life is increasingly at risk. Often, we hear about the poor performances of students and teachers in the public school system, but as author Sarah M. Stitzlein asserts in her compelling new volume, the current educational crisis is not about accountability, but rather citizen responsibility. Now, more than ever, citizens increasingly do not feel as though public schools are our schools, forgetting that we have influence over their outcomes and are responsible for their success. In effect, accountability becomes more and more about finding failure and casting blame on our school administrators and teachers, rather than taking responsibility as citizens for shaping our expectations of the classroom, determining the criteria we use to measure its success, and supporting our public schools as they nurture our children for the future. American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens sheds an important light on recent shifts in the link between education and citizenship, helping readers to understand not only how schools now work, but also how citizens can take an active and influential role in shaping them. Moving from philosophical critique of these changes to practical suggestions for action, Stitzlein provides readers with the tools, habits, practices, and knowledge necessary to support public education. Further, by sharing examples of citizens and successful communities that are effectively working with their school systems, Stitzlein offers a torch of hope to sustain citizens through this difficult work in order to keep our democracy strong.


Chapter 1: Changing Schools, Changing Citizens, Changing Priorities
Chapter 2: Accountability, the Public, and Public Schools
Chapter 3: Defining Public Schools and Understanding their Shifting Terrain
Chapter 4: Critiquing the Changing Practices of Public School
Chapter 5: Our Schools, Our Responsibility, Our Democracy
Chapter 6: Fulfilling Citizen Responsibilities
Chapter 7: Legitimacy of Public Schools
Chapter 8: Citizenship Education and Habits of Democracy
Chapter 9: Educating Citizens Through and For Democracy and Our Public Schools

About the author: 

Sarah M. Stitzlein is Associate Professor of Education and Affiliated Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati. She earned her bachelor's degree in Philosophy and master's degree in Curriculum & Teacher Leadership from Miami University and earned her doctorate in Philosophy of Education from the University of Illinois. Her primary areas of scholarship are philosophy of education, pragmatism, educational equality, political agency, and education for democracy. Her previous books, Teaching for Dissent: Political Activism and Citizenship Education and Breaking Bad Habits of Race and Gender: Transforming Identity in Schools earned her the American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Award. She has also published articles in many journals, including Teachers College Record, Educational Theory, Review of Educational Research, Educational Studies, Philosophical Studies in Education and Theory and Research in Education.

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