Chapter

THE BURDENS AND DILEMMAS OF COMMON SCHOOLING

Terence H. McLaughlin

in Citizenship and Education in Liberal-Democratic Societies

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780199253661
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601972 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199253668.003.0006
THE BURDENS AND DILEMMAS OF COMMON SCHOOLING

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Terence Mclaughlin’s essay addresses the conceptual and practical complexities involved in identifying and evaluating the nature, status, and institutional context of common (public) education in pluralist societies. He explores some of the neglected burdens and dilemmas faced by common schools in pluralist, multicultural, and liberal–democratic societies. The potential weight and complexity of these burdens and dilemmas is reflected in Stephen Macedo’s observation that common schools give rise to questions relating to some of the ‘deepest divisions’ and ‘most intractable conflicts’ characterizing the public lives of modern states. The chapter has five sections: Section 5.1 outlines some general considerations relating to common schooling and a conception of common education, pointing out that the relationship between the two is a contingent one – the adequacy of a particular institutional arrangement, such as the common school, depends critically on the extent to which it embodies an adequate conception of common education; Section 5.2 offers a sketch of some general features of such conceptions; in Sections 5.3 and 5.4, respectively, some of the burdens and dilemmas of common schooling are explored; Section 5.5 addresses neglected questions relating to the pre-eminently practical burdens and dilemmas highlighted in the previous two sections. McLaughlin’s chapter is especially helpful in identifying a number of the most important considerations in the presumption in favour of common schools as the most suitable arrangement for advancing common education, and his essay maps the conceptual, curricular, pedagogical, and policy issues that must be addressed in clarifying and defending the role of common schools and common education in liberal–democratic societies.

Keywords: burdens; common education; common schools; dilemmas; institutional arrangements; liberal–democratic societies; multicultural societies; pluralist societies; public education

Chapter.  16323 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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