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Book Preview: Critical Issues in Democratic Schooling

Posted on: October 12, 2020

About the Book

Emanating from his years of experience as a teacher, education professor, and college dean, Teitelbaum addresses aspects of school and university life that bear on efforts to foster more robust democratic policies and practices in PreK-16 settings and our society at large.
For example: 

Instructor Graphic Teaching and Teacher Education

  • What are the primary reasons to be a teacher?

  • What makes the work of teachers so challenging? 

  • What can educators and parents learn from the practices of alternative (progressive) schools?

  • What essential traits of teaching and teacher education should guide school reform efforts?

  • What significant concerns should guide teachers and teacher educators during the early 21st century?

Pencil and Ruler Graphic Curriculum Studies

  • Why should teachers engage in the process of curriculum theorizing?

  • Why is curriculum such a contentious field and what are some of the current public debates taking place?

  • What practices can we adopt to promote a more active sense of civic understanding and participation among young people?

  • What can be learned from past efforts to create curricula that promote critical questioning, economic and social equity, and the common good?

  •  Why should areas like writing, the arts, and recreation play a more prominent role in our considerations of curriculum selection?

Book Cover Graphic Multiculturalism and Social Justice

  • Why should educators adopt a more inclusive and equitable approach to teaching, learning and assessment?

  • What are the significant tensions and dilemmas that challenge those who engage in multicultural education?

  • What are the socio-political realities to take into account when addressing issues of academic attainment? 

  • How do issues of social class and poverty influence students’ and teachers’ experiences in school?

  • How do ‘hidden’ aspects of school life serve to create unfair learning environments for some students?


"This book is a tour de force. It is engaging, thoughtful, and filled with great insights and advice."
- Lawrence C. Stedman, PhD, former professor, School of Education, Binghamton University, SUNY, USA


Author Q&A : Kenneth Teitelbaum 

What made you interested in writing this book?

A good deal of my work at the university level has been involved with seeking to better understand how specific education ideas, policies and practices are linked to concerns for democracy, equality and justice.  This work has been shared in the university classroom and in scores of publications and presentations.  This book represents a more comprehensive effort to share my research and experiences in teaching and teacher education, curriculum studies, and multicultural education.  I start from a place of hopefulness, that is, that deeper understandings and commitments on the part of educators and the public, enhanced support of different kinds from governmental and community sources, and appropriate pedagogical approaches and strategies can foster more meaningful, engaging, democratic, equitable, and caring educational environments in which to learn and work.

What are among the most important “lessons” you share with readers?

I’ll give a brief answer here, related to the need for educators and others to take fuller account of, for example: 1) the complex character of schools when advocating for reform; 2) the comprehensive nature of teachers’ work when seeking to recruit and retain outstanding teachers; 3) the crucial value of an informed multicultural perspective to best address the learning needs and interests of students from diverse racial, ethnic, gendered, social class, religious, etc. backgrounds; 4) critical reflection toward the often neglected issues of school knowledge selection, so that curriculum choices are more aligned with meaningful and engaging learning environments and a democratic society; and 5) the many ways in which what happens in schools and what they can be said to accomplish, from the seemingly hidden to the very obvious, can best be understood when viewed in relation to the larger social context.



Critical Issues in Democratic Schooling: With this volume, Teitelbaum considers how a variety of aspects of school and classroom life – including school organization and funding, what is taught and to whom, and the role of teachers, students and parents – are related to the need and prospects for schools and teacher education programs that foster meaningful learning, critical reflection, democracy, and social justice.

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