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Doing democracy: Striving for political literacy and social justice

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* Concepts from Democracy and diversity: Checklist for teaching for, and about, democracy (Banks et al., 2005) Democracy: Do ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Doing democracy: Striving for political literacy and social justice


1
Doing democracy Striving for political literacy
and social justice
  • Paul R. Carr Darren E. Lund
  • Youngstown State University University of
    Calgary
  • prcarr_at_ysu.edu dlund_at_ucalgary.ca

2
(No Transcript)
3
Focus
  • How education supports, cultivates and engages
    in/with democracy
  • Correlation between educational experience and
    engagement with democratic education
  • Importance of political literacy in educational
    experience
  • Potential for transformative democratic education
  • ? critical pedagogy
  • Thick vs. Thin democracy

4
Context
  • Neo-liberal reforms in education
  • Signs of uncritical engagement (and
    disengagement) in schools and society
  • Conflation of democracy and citizenship with
    educational achievement
  • Globalization
  • Social justice
  • Why is there exclusion, who defines it, how do we
    measure it, and what can be done to remedy it?
  • What are the implications of sustained
    marginalization?
  • What formal and informal processes are in place
    to effectively ensure constructive engagement
    between diverse groups and peoples?
  • What is the responsibility of those who have
    access to power and decision making?

5
Context for interrogating democracy is
crisis-like situation facing schools (Shapiro,
2005)
  • Issues such as the growing administrative
    control over teachers lives, allegations about
    mediocrity of American schools, the crisis of
    funding, concern about what is called educational
    excellence, the impoverishment of increasing
    numbers of children and adolescents, the
    influence of the media on young lives, fears
    about moral degeneration, school violence, bitter
    contention over the nature of the curriculum and
    of school knowledge, and widening disparities in
    educational achievement among ethnic and racial
    groups must all be seen, at the same time, as
    both critical issues in American education and as
    metaphors for the larger human and societal
    situation. (p. ix)

6
Starting-points for Doing democracy
  • The salience of, and obsession with, elections
  • Concern with formal participation in
    politics/elections
  • The place of social justice in democracy
  • Cook and Westheimer (2006) If people are not
    born democrats, then education surely has a
    significant role to play in ensuring that
    democrats are made (p. 348).
  • Democratic habits and values must be taught and
    communicated through life of our society, our
    legal institutions, our press, our religious
    life, our private associations, and the many
    other agencies that allow citizens to interact
    with each other and to have a sense of
    efficiency. The best protection for a democratic
    society is well-educated citizens. (Ravitch
    Viteritti, 2001, p. 28)

7
Starting-points for Doing democracy
  • Contesting the passive acceptance of majority
    rule
  • Resisting patriotism
  • Emphasis on individualism
  • Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy (Kincheloe,
    McLaren, Giroux, Macedo, Shore, etc.)
  • education as a political project
  • political literacy
  • banking of knowledge
  • critical engagement
  • The value of seeing democracy as a multi-layered
    project
  • Philosophy Ideology Ethos
  • Operating system Culture

8
Elections as a junction for critique
  • Are they democratic?
  • Who participates?
  • The role of money
  • The potential for democratic change
  • The media (manipulation, propaganda,
    enlightenment, journalism?)
  • The level of debate
  • The concentrated focus on personalities vs. the
    needs of society
  • The utility of political parties
  • The perpetuation of social inequities
  • The (dis)connection between elections and
    education
  • The enhancement of liberty and (critical)
    democratic engagement through elections?

9
Official development assistance (ODA) (in
millions of dollars)(GNI Gross National Income)
ODA in US millions ODA in US millions ODA in US millions ODA as of GNI ODA as of GNI ODA as of GNI ODA as of GNI
Country 2005 2006 2007 2008 2005 2006 2007 2008
1 Australia 2,005 2,443 2,669 3,038 0.25 0.3 0.32 0.34
2 Austria 1,805 1,679 1,808 1,555 0.52 0.47 0.5 0.42
3 Belgium 2.264 2,209 1,953 2,214 0.53 0.5 0.43 0.47
4 Canada 4,476 4,008 4,080 4,577 0.34 0.29 0.29 0.32
5 Denmark 2,410 2,482 2,562 2,570 0.81 0.8 0.81 .082
6 Finland 1,037 935 981 1,047 0.46 0.4 0.39 0.43
7 France 11,599 11,846 9,884 10,168 0.47 0.47 0.38 0,39
8 Germany 11,369 11,592 12,291 12,994 0.36 0.36 0.37 0.38
9 Greece 450 476 501 636 0.17 0.17 0.16 0.2
10 Ireland 830 1,129 1,192 1,269 0.42 0.54 0.55 0.58
11 Italy 5,834 4,061 3,971 4,059 0.29 0.2 0.19 0.2
12 Japan 12.055 10,918 7,679 8,310 0.28 0.25 0.17 0.18
13 Luxembourg 302 323 376 382 0.79 0.9 0.91 0.92
14 Netherlands 5,818 6,036 6,224 6,522 0.82 0.81 0.81 0.8
15 New Zealand 305 305 320 355 0.27 0.27 0.27 0.3
16 Norway 3,373 3,287 3,728 3,638 0.94 0.89 0.95 0.88
17 Portugal 440 445 471 570 0.21 0.21 0.22 0.27
18 Spain 3,569 4,291 5,140 6,138 0.27 0.32 0.37 0.43
19 Sweden 3,884 4,441 4,339 4,508 0.94 1.02 0.93 0.98
20 Switzerland 1,904 1,750 1,685 1,794 0.44 0.39 0.37 0.42
21 UK 12,519 13,938 9,849 12.217 0.47 0.51 0.35 0.43
22 USA 29.611 24,166 21,787 25,439 0.23 0.18 0.16 0.18
10
U.S. (military) foreign aid (the top six
countries)
Country Aid Purpose
1. Israel 2.4 B Virtually all of this money is used to buy weapons (up to 75 made in the U.S.). Beginning in 2009, the U.S. plans to give 30 billion over 10 years.
2. Egypt 1.7 B 1.3 billion to buy weapons 103 million for education 74 million for health care 45 million to promote civic participation and human rights.
3. Pakistan 798 M 330 million for security efforts, including military-equipment upgrades and border security 20 million for infrastructure.
4. Jordan 688 M 326 million to fight terrorism and promote regional stability through equipment upgrades and training 163 million cash payment to the Jordanian government.
5. Kenya 586 M 501 million to fight HIV/AIDS through drug treatment and abstinence education and to combat malaria 15 million for agricultural development 5.4 million for programs that promote government accountability.
6. South Africa 574 M 557 million to fight TB and HIV/AIDS 3 million for education.
11
US foreign policy, democracy and un-democratic
activity
Date Country Regime Outcome
1931-1944 El Salvador Maximiliano Hernandez Assassination of political officials/civilians repression
1936-1980 Nicaragua Anastasio Somoza sons Political repression civilians attacked
1941-1979 Iran Shah of Iran Repression, corruption and instability
1954-1959 Cuba Fulgencio Batista Torture, women raped, repression, and killings
1954-1982 Guatemala Armas, Fuentes, Montt 400 Mayan villages razed rape and torture
1954-1989 Paraguay Stroessner Wide-spread torture political repression
1957-1986 Haiti Papa Doc Duvalier son 20,000-60,000 murdered political repression
1965-1967 Brazil Banco Rebels executed students tortured
1967-1998 Indonesia Suharto 100,000-500,000 dead violent repression
1969-1988 Zaire Mobutu Stole 3-5B repression leading to bloodshed
1970-1978 Bolivia Hugo Banzer Drug production and trafficking repression
1973-1990 Chile Augusto Pinochet 3,000 murdered 400,000 tortured
1975-1989 Angola Jonas Savimbi/UNITA Killed/displaced millions
1976-1981 Argentina Jorge Rafael Videla 30,000 murderedrepression
1978-present Egypt Sadat, Mubarak Civilians killed in rebellion corruption repression
1979-1988 Iraq Saddam Hussein Repression 1 million killed in war with Iran
1983-1989 Panama Noriega Support to contras repression
1990-present Uzbekistan Kamirov Rebels executed conspirators tortured
1999-2007 Pakistan Musharaff Repression political censorship torture
12
US Military spending U.S. Federal budget 2009
(fiscal year) (billions of dollars) Total
Outlays (Federal Funds) - 2,659B MILITARY 51
(details below) - Non-MILITARY 49 Human
Resources - 789B (30) Health/Human Services
Soc. Sec. Administration Education Dept.
Food/Nutrition programs Housing Urban Dev.
Labor Dept. other H.R. Past Military - 484B
(23) Veterans Benefits - 94B Interest on
national-debt (80) due to military spending,
390B General Government - 304B (13)
Treasury, including 20 interest on debt (97B)
Government personnel Justice Dept. State
Dept. (partial) Homeland Security (15)
International Affairs NASA (50) Judicial
Legislative other general government. Physical
Resources - 117B (6) Agriculture Interior
Transportation Homeland Security (15)
HUD Commerce Energy (non-military)
Environmental Protection Nat. Science Found.
Army Corps Engineers Fed. Commerce Com. other
physical resources Current Military - 965B
(28) Military Personnel 129B Operation
Maintenance 241B Procurement 143B Research
Development 79B Construction 15B Family
Housing 3B DoD miscellaneous 4B Retiree
Pay/Healthcare 70B DoE nuclear weapons 17B
NASA (50) 9B International Security 9B
Homeland Security (70 military) 35B State
Dept. (partial) 6B other military (non-DoD)
5B Global War on Terror 200 billion
13
Principles from Democracy and diversity
Checklist for teaching for, and about, democracy
(Banks et al., 2005)
  • Are students taught about the complex
    relationships between unity and diversity in
    their local communities, the nation, and the
    world?
  • Do students learn about the ways in which people
    in their community, nation, and region are
    increasingly interdependent with other people
    around the world and are connected to the
    economic, political, cultural, environmental, and
    technological changes taking place across the
    planet?
  • Does the teaching of human rights underpin
    citizenship education courses and programs?
  • Are students taught knowledge about democracy and
    democratic institutions and provided
    opportunities to practice democracy?

14
Concepts from Democracy and diversity
Checklist for teaching for, and about, democracy
(Banks et al., 2005)
  • Democracy Do students develop a deep
    understanding of the meaning of democracy and
    what it means to be a citizen in a democratic
    society?
  • Diversity Is the diversity of cultures and
    groups within all multicultural societies
    explicitly recognized in the formal and informal
    curriculum?
  • Globalization Do students develop an
    understanding of globalization that encompasses
    its history, the multiple dimensions and sites of
    globalization, as well as the complex outcomes of
    globalization?
  • Sustainable Development Is the need for
    sustainable development an explicit part of the
    curriculum?
  • Empire, Imperialism, and Power Are students
    grappling with how relationships among nations
    can be more democratic and equitable by
    discussing the concepts of imperialism and power?
  • Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism Does the
    curriculum help students to understand the nature
    of prejudice, discrimination, and racism, and how
    they operate at interpersonal, intergroup, and
    institutional levels?
  • Migration Do students understand the history and
    the forces that cause the movement of people?
  • Identity/Diversity Does the curriculum nurture
    an understanding of the multiplicity, fluidity,
    and contextuality of identity?
  • Multiple Perspectives Are students exposed to a
    range of perspectives on varying issues?
  • Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism Do students
    develop a rich and complex understanding of
    patriotism and cosmopolitanism?

15
Parker (2003) conceptualization of democratic
education
  • First, democratic education is not a neutral
    project, but one that tries to predispose
    citizens to principled reasoning and just ways of
    being with one another.
  • Second, educators need simultaneously to engage
    in multicultural education and citizenship
    education.
  • Third, the diversity that schools contain makes
    extraordinarily fertile soil for democratic
    education.
  • Fourth, this dialogue plays an essential and
    vital role in democratic education, moral
    development, and public policy.
  • Fifth, the access/inclusion problem that we
    (still) face today is one of extending democratic
    education to students who are not typically
    afforded it. (pp. xvixvii)
  • ?Dewey democratic education as enabling people
    to live together and also as a vehicle to resolve
    social problems

16
Progressive (thick) vs minimalist (thin)
interpretations of democracy (Portelli and
Solomon, 2001)
  • common elements such as critical thinking,
    dialogue and discussion, tolerance, free and
    reasoned choices, and public participation
    which are associated with equity, community,
    creativity, and taking difference seriously a
    conception that is contrasted with the notion
    of democracy that is minimalist, protectionist,
    and marginalist and hence promotes a narrow
    notion of individualism and spectacular
    citizenship. (p. 17)

17
Thick-thin spectrum of democracy and democratic
education THIN?----------------------------------
---------------------------?THICK
Voting and elections are the key to democracy Voting and elections are but one component to democracy, and must be problematized
Studying mainstream political parties, processes and structures forms the core of teaching about democracy Studying about democracy necessarily involves preparing (and engaging) for democracy, including dialectical critique, and a focus on power
Democratic education is generally concentrated within a single class or subject (i.e., Government, and/or Social Studies) Democratic education is infused across the curriculum, and involves all aspects of how education is organized (i.e., assemblies, extra-curricular, staff meetings)
Weak connection between democracy and education Explicit, engaged connection democracy must involve a politically literate populace
Support for democracy involves uncritical assessment of foreign policy, militarization, conflicts, patriotism Foreign interventions, war, conflicts, racism, injustice and human rights abuses are critically interrogated, linking local issues/concerns with the international/global context
Politics generally pertains to elections, the predominant political parties, and the agenda set by the mainstream media Politics pertains to all aspects of education, including decisionmaking, oppression, marginalization and power (what is omitted is as equally important)
Concern that teaching for and about democracy may be contentious, and could even be considered indoctrination To not teach about and for democracy in a critical fashion is to privilege dominant hegemony avoiding contentious matter and concepts can lead to great harm (racism, war, injustice, poverty, etc.)
Weak linkage between school experience and the broader societal experience Education is linked to society, and should seek to understand, and, in some cases, to transform it
Limited formal curriculum on the vastness, richness, and complexity of democracy, with limited opportunities to experience democracy outside of the voting process Formal and informal opportunities to cultivate, stimulate and inculcate democracy and democratic practices what is most important here is that knowledge is constructed, not merely conveyed or transmitted (as in the banking model)
18
Thick-thin spectrum of democracy and democratic
education THIN?----------------------------------
---------------------------?THICK
Narrow engagement with alternative visions, movements, concepts and phenomena outside of formal curriculum and mainstream hegemony Seeking to understand political and social movements not mentioned in mainstream media and the formal curriculum is important linking what we know with what we do is encouraged
Diversity is generally understood in essentialized way, with limited linkages to White power/privilege, and inequities Democracy cannot be understood without a critical linkage to social justice, which problematizes identity/diversity and social change, including power and privilege
Curriculum is generally prescriptive, with limited emphasis on critical analysis and engagement, and assessment often suffocates dynamic and complex interplay between groups and power-structures formal democratic education avoids political nature of education Assessment is not the focus of thick democratic education seeking critical engagement with authentic encounters, understanding that knowledge is constructed, and accepting that teachers do not have all of the answers are key Freires generative themes and Deweys progressive education underscore notion that education is a political project
Discussion about and for democracy is limited, contrived and aims for comfort and reassurance rather than questioning complicity, change, and power Deliberative democracy must be made more authentic with engagement with a broad range of groups/interests/concerns students should be encouraged to question and challenge problems
Literacy is constructed in a limited way, often focused on skills and knowledge considered relevant for employment Political and media literacy are fundamental pillars, seeking what Giroux calls emancipatory literacy and democratic conscientization
19
Discussion
  • The commonality of the North American and Western
    experience can be explained, in part, by the
    prevalence of neo-liberal policies and realities
    that broadly affect youth, students and educators
    on both sides of the border.
  • Research supports the introduction of a critical
    pedagogical approach in education to better
    prepare future educators for the challenge of
    engaging students in the classroom AND also to
    frame their experiences so as be able to confront
    diverse political realities themselves.
  • Importance of political literacy and media
    literacy ?thick democracy
  • Peace as an objective of education

20
Discussion
  • HEGEMONIC PERSPECTIVES
  • What are the implications for society if
    critical, democratic engagement (a thicker
    interpretation of democracy) is not the focus of
    public education?
  • EDUCATION AS TRAINING (NEO-LIBERALISM)
  • HEGEMONIC PERSPECTIVES Why are many educators
    and students reluctant to critically deconstruct
    and assess the merits of democracy, or why do
    they more freely and seemingly instinctively
    conceptualize democracy in a more formal sense of
    electoral processes and formal representation?
  • ACCOUNTABILITY
  • Incorporating a vision, a curriculum, a pedagogy,
    a policy framework and an institutional culture
    conducive to cultivating political literacy and
    social justice in education can assist in
    establishing a more accountable, democratic
    educational system and experience for all
    students.

21
  • Merci
  • Gracias
  • Thank You
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