This book articulates a path for a renewed conception of-and commitment to-the public dimensions of schooling. It is an interdisciplinary book of philosophy and politics, written for educational leaders working in or on behalf of public schooling. Publics for Public Schools introduces a fresh view on how educational leaders might view the public ideal. In this conception of public work and leadership, educational leaders do not work with the public but help to achieve publics for public schools. The demos, or "the people" in the case of democratic governance of schools, mobilize around particular problems related to young people and schooling; they are best understood not as "the public" but as multiple publics. This book provides a conception of public life and of public leadership that can enable educational leaders of all types to help achieve publics for their schools.
"Knight Abowitz offers a theoretically rich and ethically attuned call to renew and reimagine the public dimensions of public schooling as a means to enhance both educational efficacy and social justice. In this endeavor, the book is a remarkable success and should find a broad and interested readership. It will make especially valuable reading for scholars, educators, and engaged citizens."
--Teachers College Record
“Every now and then that rare book comes along which is so ambitious in its aspirations, so rigorous in its analysis, and so polished in terms of its command of the research literature that it should be read not just by educators, not just by parents, but by everyone. Kathleen Knight Abowitz has written a tour de force on the eve of the 100th anniversary of John Dewey's Democracy and Education that establishes new standards for all of us who are concerned about the future of American schools and our democracy."
--Dennis Shirley, Professor of Education, Boston College
“At a time when many Americans increasingly see U.S. public schools as merely centralized government-run institutions, Kathleen Knight Abowitz intriguingly envisions them functioning in deeply public ways. She excites us with the possibilities of communities that come together in deliberation tosupport their schools, shape their educational goals, and ensure desirable and equitable education of all children. She invites us to form publics for public schools, an achievement which will engage ourcommunities and strengthen our schools. Knight Abowitz offers a terrific account of affirming and building the publicness of our schools and it begins with all of us.”
--Sarah Stitzlein, University of Cincinnati
"In an age in which we need to relearn the meaning of democracy, citizenship, and the purposes of public schooling, Kathleen Knight Abowitz's book provides a nuanced and accessible road map. Every aspiring educational leader should read this book."
--Gary Anderson, Professor of Educational Leadership, NYU
Acknowledgments Chapter 1: Where Is the Public in Public Schooling? Chapter 2: The Problem of Legitimacy Chapter 3: The Publics of Public Schools Chapter 4: Publics: Formed of Problems, Developing in Deliberation, Existing in Conflict Chapter 5: Deliberative Democracy and Public Schools Chapter 6: Community Organizing: Creating Publics for School Reform Chapter 7: Public Leadership for Public Schools Appendix