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Title:Education in the National Interest
Author(s):Margonis, Frank George
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Burnett, Joe,
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Philosophy of
Abstract:This dissertation is a philosophical examination of the democratic viability of educational policy devoted to serving "national interests." It begins with an interpretation of the 1983 educational reforms that received the greatest publicity with the U.S. Department of Education document A Nation at Risk, which prescribed educational policies intended to serve the national interest. The interpretation of the 1983 reform movement involves a review of the meaning "national interests" assumes in many educational reports composing the reform movement. The meaning of educational policies devoted to the national interest is developed further with an interpretation of the long-term political-economic trends as well as the immediate political-economic context leading up to the reform movement.
After the meaning of policies devoted to education in the national interest is developed, criticisms of educational policy in the national interest are reviewed which suggest that such programs actually serve dominant groups' interests at the expense of other groups' interests. Thus, the problem is posed of whether education in the national interest actually serves citizens' common interests.
The conceptions of citizens' common interests employed in the dissertation are those developed in the works of John Dewey and Jurgen Habermas. Dewey's and Habermas's likely analyses of the 1983 educational reform movement are developed. Both men, it is argued, would be quite critical of the reforms because the reform process--initiated by educational commissions and not involving a democratic construction of public opinion--violated basic democratic procedures both theorists consider basic to locating citizens' common interests. Dewey's and Habermas's respective conceptions of common interest and the arguments presented in favor of those conceptions are compared in an attempt to determine which theoretical approach is strongest. Lastly, Dewey's and Habermas's attempts to defend a conception of common interest are criticized from the perspective suggesting that citizens' interests are inherently in conflict and cannot be common.
Issue Date:1988
Description:256 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8908767
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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