The Struggle for Democracy in Education extends the insightful arguments Michael W. Apple provided in Can Education Change Society? It provides detailed examinations of both local and system-wide struggles around conflicting versions of democracy. Grounded in a key set of ethical and political responsibilities for those who care deeply about education, Apple and his co-authors interrogate conflicting models of democratic education, one interested in the common good and the creation of critical citizens, the other market-oriented and meant to meet a set of more conservative economic needs. Through a series of powerful international case studies, this volume explores the contested terrain, combining powerful theory with the "stuff" of schools, political and pedagogical actions, and the lives of individuals. These detailed examinations provide the reader with a more nuanced understanding of how policy, history, and varied actors with varied agendas come together, and the very real people and systems that are impacted by these conflicts. The Struggle for Democracy in Education asks us to face and understand these myriad forces and actors—both progressive and retrogressive—and to ask what we can do to ensure that the education that is created is worthy of its name. In the process, the book gives us real examples of critically democratic education and what we can learn from these struggles.
'Michael Apple has never settled for easy answers. His scholarship confronts the messy, complex, and often contradictory challenges posed by the real world – a world he has experienced as teacher, parent, union president and world leading scholar. In this important new study Apple and his co-authors draw on real world cases to explore some of the most pressing dilemmas facing critical educators in the twenty-first century.'
—David Gillborn is Director of the Centre for Research in Race & Education (CRRE) at the University of Birmingham, UK
'What makes The Struggle for Democracy in Education so special is that it is refreshingly honest; it does not romanticise the long, slow, and at times, painful work of resistance against injustices and undemocratic forces in education and society. Rather, it inspires and reinvigorates us to persist. The detailed analysis of egalitarian educational movements in the United States, China and Brazil enables readers to see how activism leads to real social change.'
—Kathleen Lynch, Professor of Equality Studies at University College Dublin, Ireland
'The Struggle for Democracy in Education is a theoretically rich, concrete analysis of the assault on public education and actual efforts to construct democratic, liberatory alternatives. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand how contestations over racialized neoliberal agendas play out in real time, on the ground. By illuminating the contradictions and complexities of these struggles in different contexts, it provides invaluable lessons and spaces for action and hope.'
—Pauline Lipman is Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Director of the Collaborative of Equity and Social Justice in Education at University of Illinois-Chicago, USA
"[Each chapter] provides an educational context to which critical democratic theory can be applied with an eye to parsing out the who, how, and what of ever-evolving democratic processes via specific educational sites and systems; both those that can grow thick democracy as well as those that aim to thin out democracy to the benefit of powerful elites. In each context, Apple and his co-author provide clear context and utilize nuanced critical democratic theory to point out those practices and systemic places worth the time and energy of activist educators and community leaders. These chapters include analyses of educational reforms in, respectively, a midwestern port city; Wisconsin and Colorado; China; and Brazil. Each chapter is very well-written, individually interesting, and as a whole they are pulled together nicely in Apple’s conclusion. Readers looking for that rare case of theory-actually-applied will find this book a compelling read."
-Eric C. Sheffield, Teachers College Record, Date Published: March 01, 2019, http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22693
Table of Contents
The Struggle for Democracy in Education
Michael W. Apple
The Contradictions of a Critically Democratic School
Assaf Meshulam and Michael W. Apple
Struggling for the Local: Money, Power, and the Possibilities of Victories in the Politics of Education
Eleni Schirmer and Michael W. Apple
How "Democracy" Can Lead to Inequality: Class Relations and the Realities of Educational Reform
Shuning Liu and Michael W. Apple
Can Critical Democracy Last? Porto Alegre and the Struggle for "Thick" Democracy in Education
Luis Armando Gandin and Michael W. Apple
The Struggle Continues: Lessons Learned and What Can Be Done
Michael W. Apple
About the Authors