Synopses & Reviews
While teaching at an all-Black middle school in Atlanta, Meira Levinson realized that students' individual self-improvement would not necessarily enable them to overcome their profound marginalization within American society. This is because of a civic empowerment gap that is as shameful and antidemocratic as the academic achievement gap targeted by No Child Left Behind. No Citizen Left Behind
argues that students must be taught how to upend and reshape power relationships directly, through political and civic action. Drawing on political theory, empirical research, and her own on-the-ground experience, Levinson shows how de facto
segregated urban schools can and must be at the center of this struggle.
Recovering the civic purposes of public schools will take more than tweaking the curriculum. Levinson calls on schools to remake civic education. Schools should teach collective action, openly discuss the racialized dimensions of citizenship, and provoke students by engaging their passions against contemporary injustices. Students must also have frequent opportunities to take civic and political action, including within the school itself. To build a truly egalitarian society, we must reject myths of civic sameness and empower all young people to raise their diverse voices. Levinson's account challenges not just educators but all who care about justice, diversity, or democracy.
While teaching at an all-Black middle school in Atlanta, Levinson realized that her students' individual self-improvement would not necessarily enable them to overcome their historical marginalization. In order to overcome their civic empowerment gap, students must learn how to reshape power relationships through public political and civic action.
2013 Michael Harrington Book Award, New Political Science Section of the American Political Science Association
2013 American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Award
2013 Exemplary Research in Social Studies Education Award, National Council for the Social Studies
2014 North American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award
This book features Danielle Allenandrsquo;s 2014 Tanner Lectures, delivered at Stanford University, along with comments from four distinguished contributorsandmdash;Harvard philosopher Tommie Shelby; education and globalization scholar Marcelo Suandaacute;rez-Orozco (UCLA); Michael Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia; and Pulitzer-winning playwright Quiara Alegrandiacute;a Hudesandmdash;along with Allenandrsquo;s response to the commentaries.
Why it is so hard to think about education and equality in relation to each other? Allen asks. For all of our talk about the two, we donandrsquo;t actually talk much about how education itself relates to equality, regardless of whether the equality we have in mind is human, political, or social, or connected to economic fairness. The basic problem that motivates these lectures, then, is the following: Allen thinks that education itselfandmdash;a practice of human developmentandmdash;has important contributions to make to the defense of human equality, the cultivation of political and social equality, and the emergence of fair economic orders. But she thinks we have lost sight of just how education relates to those egalitarian concerns. If we are to do right by the students we purport to educate, in whatever context and at whatever level, we need to recover that vision. Allenandrsquo;s goal, therefore, is to recover our understanding of just how education and equality are intrinsically connected to each other.
About the Author
Danielle Allen is professor of government and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. She is the author or editor of several books, including, most recently, Our Declaration.