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"The cumulative effect [of Educational Freedom] is a powerful critique of federal political solutions to major social and educational problems."
Educational Freedom for a Democratic Society
A Critique of National Educational Goals, Standards, and Curriculum

Edited by Ron Miller

1995, 290 pages, Paperback, $12.00

This is a bold and provocative book about the most important educational issue of our time. It is essential reading for everyone involved in educational policy and administration, and it is certainly vital reading for anyone concerned about the future direction of education in the United States.

Goals 2000 and other recent initiatives represent a massive shift of educational authority from families and local communities to federal and state bureaucracies, from teachers and learners to commissions of "experts" and policymakers. They replace intellectual freedom and cultural diversity with a narrow, economy-driven vision of standardization and uniformity. Educational Freedom for a Democratic Society examines the pedagogical, ideological, constitutional and moral consequences of the increasing centralization of educational authority. It provides a comprehensive, perceptive, hard-hitting critique of the national goals and standards agenda that goes well beyond the sporadic criticisms found in the professional literature or the superficial treatment given this crucial issue in the mass media.

Educational Freedom for a Democratic Society is a unique anthology bringing together the perspectives of diverse scholars, educators, and parent activists; it is a collection of writings that are rarely encountered in standard educational literature. Leading theorists such as David Purpel, Nel Noddings, Harold Berlak and Patrick Shannon contribute a strong progressive voice, while the late James Moffett, Jeffrey Kane, Lynn Stoddard and Ron Miller approach issues of democracy, freedom, education and culture from a holistic perspective. Linda Dobson, Pat Farenga, and Katharine Houk and Seth Rockmuller speak as parents and homeschooling advocates about the growing threat to educational and cultural freedom. Legal scholar Stephen Arons (today's most important author on the politics of compulsory schooling), African-American psychologist Gerald Porter, and Gary Lamb and Ronald Milito (both influenced by the libertarian/spiritual philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education) have also contributed important essays to this volume.

Resisting the avalanche of government, foundation, corporate and academic commissions calling for heightened competitiveness, increased testing, and greater federal control of education, the authors argue that mandated standards will have devastating effects on our children's learning and on the quality of democratic community life. Instead, they portray a vision of educational freedom and cultural diversity that challenges the philosophical and ideological foundations of the modern corporate state. This is a book that could inspire an educational revolution.

"Goals 2000, the education reform proposed by President Bush and enacted in 1994, has been attacked by conservatives for imposing national 'voluntary' curriculum standards, teacher certification guidelines, and student assessments. This volume provides a parallel critique from a left-leaning coalition of Waldorf school proponents, homeschoolers, and progressive educators.... The cumulative effect [of the book] is a powerful critique of federal political solutions to major social and educational problems."
(Choice, April 1996)

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