Elementary Schooling for Critical Democracy

By Jesse Goodman
With Jeff Kuzmic & Xioyang Wu

Subjects: Education Policy And Leadership
Series: SUNY series, Teacher Empowerment and School Reform
Paperback : 9780791408605, 232 pages, February 1992
Hardcover : 9780791408599, 232 pages, February 1992

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Table of contents



Foreword (by Giroux and McLaren)


1. Elementary Education and Democracy


Critical Democracy
Individuality and Community
The Rise of Individualism in the United States
Individualism and Elementary Schooling
Critical Democracy and Radical Educational Reform
Reflections: Learning From Experience


2. Learning from Reality: Harmony School


Theoretical Considerations in a Postpositivist Era
Decoding Social Reality
Harmony's Elementary School
Spending a Year at Harmony


3. Power and Participation: Teachers and Administrators


Distribution and Manifestation of Authority
Written Policy
Social Control
Social Costs
Reflections: Teacher Empowerment


4. Power and Participation: Adults and Children


Social Bonding
Teacher Authority
Power Sharing
Reflections: Towards Connectionist Power Dynamics in Elementary Schools


5. Curriculum and Instruction


Building a Connectionist Rationale
Teacher-Centered Curriculum
Collaborative Learning
Expansive Knowledge Base
Social Values
Social Action and Community Service Projects
Reflections: Critical Thinking, Feminist Pedagogy, and Democracy


6. Creating an Elementary Pedagogy for Critical Democracy: Conclusions and Suggestions


Towards an Educational Language of Democratic Imagery
Strategies for Promoting Critical Democracy through Elementary Education





This book examines the way in which elementary schooling can be used as a means to encourage critical democracy in the United States. It focuses primarily on the dialectical tensions and issues that emerge from the conflicting values of individuality and community through a portrayal of an independent elementary school committed to democratic education.

Jesse Goodman is Associate Professor of Education at Indiana University. Since 1986, his research of teacher socialization has received four national awards for distinguished scholarship.


"We believe that educators should be on the front lines of a reform movement to make critical democracy and citzenship a primary aim of American education. Goodman's study of a school that attempts to promote democratic ideals, values, and actions, with all its strengths and shortcomings, has far reaching implications for educators, cultural workers, and those who are responsible for school policy at all levels. Most importantly, it provides a multiplicity of democratic images for those educators who, against great odds, have not ceased in the struggle to transform the project of schooling into the search for a world less burdened by oppression and human suffering. Goodman's book is not about false optimism, but about radical hope. " — Henry A. Giroux and Peter L. McLaren

"This book brings critical theory alive. It brings the important issues raised by the critical theorists to elementary classrooms and creates a picture of schooling for critical democracy that teachers will be able to understand. The book is enriched by the many vivid examples that help clarify the meaning of theoretical recommendations and that support the conclusions drawn in the study.

"This outstanding book is one I will want to read and reread and one I want to share with my students and former students. I have been searching for a book like this and am excited to find it. " — Dorene Ross, University of Florida