Avoiding the Demise of Democracy: A Cautionary Tale for Teachers and Principals (Hardback)
  • Avoiding the Demise of Democracy: A Cautionary Tale for Teachers and Principals (Hardback)

Avoiding the Demise of Democracy: A Cautionary Tale for Teachers and Principals (Hardback)

Hardback 216 Pages / Published: 05/12/2013
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In the seventies, countries lauded American education as one of the best systems in the world. Then came the accountability movement. What was measured was what counted. Those who measured low were punished. Those who measured high were rewarded. With measurements came the loss of emphasis on the critical thought so necessary to the preservation of American democracy and improving the American way of life. Where do children learn the skills, practice and habits of democracy? Sharron Goldman Walker's second volume on democracy in education asks educators, especially teachers and principals, to contemplate their roles in education and its connections with the preservation of American democracy. Do we send children to school to learn only how to achieve high scores on high stakes tests? If democracy is not learned by practice in the schoolhouse, how will children recognize it when they leave it? Will they be able to critically reflect upon the issues presented to them? Today's politics have descended into mutual shouting matches, name-calling, hate and fear. Without the ability to critically reflect upon divergent views through reasoned discourse what will be the quality of the democracy? If democracy in education is not practiced in the schoolhouse, democracy in America will vanish.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781475806229
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 238 x 164 x 21 mm

Sharron Goldman Walker is an educational prophet, one who listens and then speaks. Her approach is as radical as our nation, rooted in democracy that is learned by practice in the schools. If democracy is to survive, children must learn how to live it, through reasoned discourse and thoughtful reflection on divergent views. Today's politics have descended into shouting matches, name-calling, hate and fear. Verbal violence leaks into our schools and morphs into physical harm. Her prescription for problem solving in education is understandable, her style engaging, and her vision possible. The quest for self-governance gave our ancestors the will to fight and die; the same quest might give children the will to live and learn. All educators can find in this book a source of exploration, examination, and excitement. -- Mary Wendrick, junior college instructor, retired
In this second volume on democracy in education, Sharron Goldman Walker challenges readers once again to respond to the question why we send our children to school. As our society continues to measure success by test results alone, we are losing sight of the underlying tenants that frame our democratic way of life. Schooling and freedom alone will not preserve education and democracy. This volume challenges each of us to make a commitment to preserve American democracy by rethinking and redesigning an authentic curriculum for the future leaders of our country. -- Michael Chirichello, professor of leadership, Northern Kentucky University
The same voices that cry for liberty and venerate our Founding Fathers have saddled America's children with an educational system that stifles thinking, free expression and inquiry. Walker's second volume on democracy in education explains the role of public schools in fostering the skills of critical thinking, inquiry and reasoned discourse that are necessary for a democratic society to function. The American system of governance is broken, and she lays out a powerful case for a fundamental transformation of educational philosophy to allow schools to promote and nurture democracy. As educators, we must get this book into the hands of our nation's policy makers! -- Walter Wesch, high school teacher, Sells, Arizona
Sharron Goldman Walker has addressed a pertinent and timely question regarding the continuation of the democratic process in the United States and the role of public education. At a time when public discourse and legislative decisions are becoming more and more polarized with a trend towards increased inequality and individualism while ignoring the common good, Dr. Walker makes a compelling case for our need to instill the democratic principles in our students and to teach them the philosophical and ethical foundational thought and the societal and individual benefits of a democracy. -- Caroline Chilton, elementary charter school principal, Gilbert, Arizona
The practice of true democracy, the participation of an informed electorate in the activities and decision making processes of their government, is and has been in crisis in the United States for decades. Public Education, practiced by passionate and dedicated teachers and principals, is one of the last great bastions able to protect and pass on the traditions of historically literate citizenship. Unfortunately, public education is very much in crisis, too. It is under attack by the same forces undermining democracy itself, for those forces recognize its power to challenge the status quo and incite change. I have known Sharron Goldman Walker as a friend and colleague for over twenty years. She truly is among our most dedicated and passionate educators. Her Cautionary Tale deserves to be heard, pondered, and taken seriously. Hers is a voice from the trenches. Her urgency is genuine and just. -- Michael Harty, juvenile care worker, Junction City, Oregon
In her new book Sharron Walker presents the reader important questions about the direction of education today. For example she stipulates that democratic living risks becoming a "habit of mind," or end product rather than democracy as a living breathing process that needs to be practiced each day, and more importantly taught in our schools each day. It is this very point many educators working in today's educational environment might argue is not happening. The good teachers and principals Walkers sees as necessary to the survival of democratic education are too often bound by the political wrangling of money and philosophy, typically resorting to the data driven and control models of education. As was her first book Principals as Maverick Leaders, Avoiding the Demise of Democracy is again a must read for aspiring teachers and principals and those already in the schools. -- Gene Biladeau, middle school teacher, Benson, Arizona
This book is about the important differences between schooling and democracy. It shows that modeling democracy and allowing it in the classroom, the community, and the administration of schools is paramount if democracy is to survive in America. -- Sue Cox, high school teacher, retired
A study of democratic practices in public schools, complete with life experiences and provoking chapter questions. The second of Sharon Walker's books exploring the importance of public schools role in society continues Principal Dina Macksy's quest as she challenges, questions and hammers out some hard truths about schools using historical visitors and current ones. I was on the journey from Chapter One! -- Jona Henry, retired high school teacher
Democracy in education may not be dead but those who regulate the educational system at both the Federal and State level are focused on holding the pillow of control to its face, suffocating the life out of it, in the pursuit of higher test scores. Dr. Walker understands the fallacy of that approach, recognizing that engagement rather than control is necessary to lead students to take control of their education. Her books should be required reading by all who are involved in the educational system. -- John Casicato, alternate school teacher, retired

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