The Program on Constitutional Government: “Hating School: The Liberal Tradition in American Education”
The Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University, a JMC partner program, will be holding a lunch discussion with JMC faculty partner Rita Koganzon. She will be speaking on traditions (in particular, the liberal tradition) in American education.
When we discuss education in America, we almost invariably refer to schools. The centrality of schooling to our concept of learning became all the more apparent this past fall, as families grasped for alternatives to schools shuttered during the pandemic. These circumstances, perhaps more than any we’ve encountered in the recent past, have pressed us to admit that formal schooling doesn’t exhaust the possibilities of education. And yet the school still represents our touchstone for considering and evaluating American education.
The bias at work here is understandable, since the journalists, policymakers, academics, and politicians who dominate the public conversation about education are nearly always the products of a long-standing tradition of thought that views the school — and especially the public school — as the institutional bedrock of a successful democratic republic. This tradition — which I will call the “republican tradition” here — can be traced from the founding generation through 19th-century reformers to the school-reform movement of the past 30 years. Those who embrace this thinking aspire to put high-quality public schooling within the reach of all families…Continue reading at National Affairs >>
Friday, April 30, 2021 • 12:30 PM EDT
A virtual event through Zoom
Rita Koganzon is the Associate Director of the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy and Assistant Professor of Politics (General Faculty) at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the themes of education, childhood, authority, and the family in historical and contemporary political thought, and her work has been published in the American Political Science Review, the Review of Politics, and the History of Education Quarterly, as well as in several edited volumes. She also contributes book reviews and essays to the Hedgehog Review, National Affairs, The Point, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. Her first book, Liberal States, Authoritarian Families: Childhood and Education in Liberal Thought (forthcoming from Oxford University Press), examines the justifications for authority over children from Jean Bodin to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Her current book project focuses on the topic of this talk.
Professor Koganzon is a JMC faculty partner.
The Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University was founded in 1985 by Harvey Mansfield and William Kristol, and has been guided since then by Mansfield and R. Shep Melnick of Boston College. The Program promotes the study of the U.S. Constitution and its principles, combining the fields of political theory and American government. It brings visiting professors to Harvard, invites guest speakers, and supports postdoctoral fellowships. The Program also seeks to improve the access of Harvard students to political debate by ensuring that the principle of diversity is not confined to favored classes of Americans, but extended to political opinion, since it is the interest of all that both sides be heard.
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