23 SES 17 D, Public Education at the Crossroads in Germany, the United States and Canada
In the opening paper, we consider classical perspectives on public education for the common good as part of nation building and bring these perspectives forward to the complex contemporary situation for nation states in an increasingly globalized world. In so doing, the article analyses the function of public education to create a certain understanding of the public. The historical analysis focuses on relationships among public education and the development of modern nation states with a common cultural heritage. The historical analysis is complemented with research that demonstrates the strong link between the evolving nation concept (Anderson, 2006) and the evolving concept of universal school systems and its characteristics such as standardized formats, teacher training and state control (Osterhammel, 2014 and Tröhler, Popkewitz, Labaree, 2011). In the US, Germany and Canada, control for public education is seen as the responsibility of the states or provinces within the nation states. Currently, international players, such as the OECD, UNESCO, and the EU also play an increasingly important role in public education (Fulge et al., 2016) defined as organized by the state and serving the common good. Germany, the U.S. and Canada have experienced a greater scope of diversity in comparison to more homogenous nations. How are the classical nation state aims toward commonality complicated by state responsibility for education, traditions of federalism and locality, and in the case of the U.S., long-standing societal inequities according to race? This article examines evolving national and state documents over time that relate educational goals to common values for citizenship that illustrate how states within the three nation states also now interact with international players, especially in terms of citizenship education for increasingly diverse citizens. At certain points in history (e.g. beginning of the 20th century in the U.S., during the 1920s with varying reforms, from the 1960s onward in the U.S. and Germany), we can observe varying efforts to democratize schools. This means to introduce student representation, class councils, integrative teaching methods and multiperspective history teaching to develop more diverse narratives. Nevertheless, these approaches seem to be finite with regard to their effect on social cohesion. This paper considers contemporary challenges for citizenship education in relation to the historical foundations of public education and opens to the remaining papers that further discuss the competing factors bringing public education and indeed education to a new crossroads.
Anderson B (2016). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London, New York: Verso. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. Macmillan. Fulge T et al. (2016). Rational Intentions and Unintended Consequences: On the Interplay Between International and National Actors in Education Policy. In: Mundy K et. al. Global Policy and Policy-Making in Education. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, pp 453-469. McCluskey, N. G. (1958). Public Schools and Moral Education the Influence of Horace Mann, William Torrey Harris, and John Dewey, New York: Columbia University Press. Osterhammel J (2014). The transformation of the world: A global history of the nineteenth century. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press. Overhoff J and Overbeck A (eds) (2017). New perspectives on German-American educational history: Topics, trends, fields of research. Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt. Troehler D, Popkewitz, T & Labaree D (eds.) (2011) Schooling and the Making of Citizens in the Long Nineteenth Century: Comparative Visions, London: Routledge. Uljens, M., & Ylimaki, R. M. (2017). Bridging Educational Leadership, Curriculum Theory and Didaktik. Springer International Publishing.
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