Democracy Does Not Fall From the Sky

Written by: Terry Link

Primary Source: Possibilitator

This is the title of the foreword to a new book Educating for Democratic Consciousness. ed. Ali Abdi and Paul Carr, 2013) The author of the foreword, Daniel Schugurensky makes the following claim after giving a brief history of democracy.

Educating for Democratic Consciousness: Counter-Hegemonic Possibilities
If we accept the premise that we are still living in a world that is profoundly undemocratic, that the fragile and imperfect democracies that we have today are the product of centuries of struggles, and that a more democratic world will not fall from the sky, it is clear that democracy is an unfinished project. This project is not only about a better form of government, more transparent and participatory governance, and more fair and equitable policies, it is also an ongoing process of community building, of healthy relationships with other community members and with nature. (p.xi)

He goes on to suggest five implications for education:

  • It requires developing democratic consciousness
  • It must be connected to peace education, citizenship education, intercultural education, environmental education, global education, gender education and more broadly to social studies education
  • Schools must not only help students adapt to society but also to help them change society for the better
  • Teacher education needs to emphasize education for democracy in preservice and inservice
  • It must include emphasis on democratizing educational institutions themselves

Eighteen chapters from twenty sharp minds from many countries fill up the rest of the 270+ pages exploring these possibilities. I don’t expect to read them all, but any I find particularly full of new possibilities will be shared…

Film at 11:00

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Terry Link
Terry Link is a retired MSU librarian, former founding director of the MSU Office of Campus Sustainability, and co-founder and former chair of the American Library Association’s Task Force on the Environment. He recently served as associate editor for the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices(Gale/Cengage 2014). He has also served as executive director of a regional food bank and as a county commissioner. Currently he is president of Starting Now, LLC, a sustainability consulting firm, a Senior Fellow for the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and serves on numerous non-profit organization boards.
Terry Link

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