74.1 - TeacherEducation Quarterly,Winter 2009 Education for...

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Teacher Education Quarterly, Winter 2009 Education for Democracy: It Is Not an Issue of Dare; It Is an Issue of Can By Philip Kovacs This article operates under the assumption that social studies teachers must teach for democracy, as democrkcy is not something that occurs or maintains without citizens who have the capacities and demeanors for democratic renewal and growth. In an effort to argue for a democratic ethos towards schooling in general, and for social studies teachers in particular, this paper problematizes No ChildLeftBehind (NCLB) and other forms of neoconservative and/or neoliberal reform efforts that prevent social studies teachers, and the schools housing them, from teaching towards democracy in the first place. I close with suggestions for changing the educational landscape so that social studies teachers have the freedom and support to educate for democracy. I employ a definition of democracy influenced greatly by John Dewey (1927, 1944) and two of his biographers: Jay Martin (2003) and Paul Westbrook (1993). Democracy understood through these individuals is a form of associated living that fosters the growth of the individual through his or her participation in social affairs. Free, reflective, critical inquiry and the welfare of oth- ers undergird interaction, communion, and comminity Philip Kovacs is'an building.-Unlike authoritarian states, democracyrequires assistant professor in its members toparticipate in thepolitical, social, cultural, the School of Education and economic institutions affecting their development, at the University of as democracies believe in the capacity of ordinary Alabama in Huntsville, individuals to direct the affairs of their society. Active Huntsville, Alabama. participation invarious institutions--' the reshaping and
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Education for Democracy reinvention of norms, laws, and communities-prevents homogenizing authoritari- anism, allowing for individual and community re-creation and growth. Importantly, democracy is not static. As individuals engage with, reflect on, and critique the worlds they inhabit, democracy itself evolves.As ZygmuntBauman (2001, p. 55) has explained the term: Democracy expresses itself in a continuous and relentless critique of institutions; democracyis ananarchic, disruptive element inside thepolitical system: essentially, a force for dissent and change. One can best recognize a democratic society by its constant complaints that it is not democratic enough. A political system that ossifies cannot take into account new realities or exigencies. Therefore, democracy requires complaint and challenge, as it is through complaint and challenge that democracies evolve with social, political, and environmental realities. Refusing democratic growth, believing that democracy has for all times been defined, "is an invitation for revolt and revolution" (Dewey, 1927, p. 34). If a country does not invite
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74.1 - TeacherEducation Quarterly,Winter 2009 Education for...

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