thinking like a citizen–about schools

In Education, Justice & Democracy, edited by Danielle S. Allen and Rob Reich, all the chapters address the topic of educational equality in the US. The section headings are “ideals,” “constraints,” and “strategies.” In a longish review essay for Theory & Research in Education, I argue that good citizens explore just these three issues whenever they consider any important topic. In fact, you might define good citizens as people who takeĀ  ideals, constraints (or, I would say, “facts”), and strategies seriously and act accordingly. However, the three issues are badly segregated in modern intellectual life, with whole disciplines given over to the assumption that one should seek value-free facts, other disciplines happy to explore values without thinking about strategies, and some professional programs focused on strategies with a narrow conception of ideals. What we call “Civic Studies” is a deliberate effort to reintegrate thinking about social concerns from a citizen’s perspective, which inevitably combines ideals, constrains, and strategies. I chose to review this volume because it exemplifies Civic Studies, although I offer some critical thoughts about parts of the book.

My review is in Theory and Research in Education, July 2015, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 235-238, or on

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.
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