The Case For Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues In American Schools by Jonathan ZimmermanThe Case For Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues In American Schools by Jonathan Zimmerman

The Case For Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues In American Schools

byJonathan Zimmerman, Emily Robertson

Paperback | April 24, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$31.39

Earn 157 plum® points
HURRY, ONLY 2 LEFT!

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores

about

From the fights about the teaching of evolution to the details of sex education, it may seem like American schools are hotbeds of controversy. But as Jonathan Zimmerman and Emily Robertson show in this insightful book, it is precisely because such topics are so inflammatory outside school walls that they are so commonly avoided within them. And this, they argue, is a tremendous disservice to our students. Armed with a detailed history of the development of American educational policy and norms and a clear philosophical analysis of the value of contention in public discourse, they show that one of the best things American schools should do is face controversial topics dead on, right in their classrooms.
           
Zimmerman and Robertson highlight an aspect of American politics that we know all too well: We are terrible at having informed, reasonable debates. We opt instead to hurl insults and accusations at one another or, worse, sit in silence and privately ridicule the other side. Wouldn’t an educational system that focuses on how to have such debates in civil and mutually respectful ways improve our public culture and help us overcome the political impasses that plague us today? To realize such a system, the authors argue that we need to not only better prepare our educators for the teaching of hot-button issues, but also provide them the professional autonomy and legal protection to do so. And we need to know exactly what constitutes a controversy, which is itself a controversial issue. The existence of climate change, for instance, should not be subject to discussion in schools: scientists overwhelmingly agree that it exists. How we prioritize it against other needs, such as economic growth, however—that is worth a debate.
           
With clarity and common-sense wisdom, Zimmerman and Robertson show that our squeamishness over controversy in the classroom has left our students woefully underserved as future citizens. But they also show that we can fix it: if we all just agree to disagree, in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
 
Jonathan Zimmerman is professor of history of education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of six books, including, most recently, Campus Politics, and is a regular contributor to newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Emily Robertson is associate professor em...
Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know?
Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know?

by Jonathan Zimmerman

$9.59$10.99

Available for download

Not available in stores

Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education
Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education

by Jonathan Zimmerman

$23.39$29.24

Available for download

Not available in stores

Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century
Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century

by Jonathan Zimmerman

$30.85$31.95

In stock online

Not available in stores

Shop this author
Title:The Case For Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues In American SchoolsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.4 inPublished:April 24, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022645634X

ISBN - 13:9780226456348

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Case For Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues In American Schools

Reviews

Table of Contents

1          Introduction: The Controversy over Controversial Issues
2          Historical Reflections: Teacher Freedom and Controversial Issues
3          Philosophical Reflections: Exploring the Ideal of Teaching Controversial Issues
4          Conclusion: Policy and Practice in Teaching Controversial Issues
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“A spirited work exploring why we so often shy away from controversial issues in the classroom and how we can empower educators to facilitate reasoned and thoughtful deliberation over the big issues of our time. Readers will learn a great deal about the state of education in America and come away with many useful ideas about how we can make the classroom experience much better for producing good citizens.”