An Aristocracy of Everyone: The Politics of Education and the Future of America

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Oxford University Press, 1994 - Philosophy - 307 pages
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Until now, the current crisis in education has been defined by controversy over what should be taught, who should be taught, and, increasingly who should pay for it. What is less discussed is what these questions mean for the future of our country our society, and our very value system, the basis of which is democracy. In this brilliant, controversial, and profoundly original book, Benjamin R. Barber fundamentally alters the terms of the current debate over the value of opportunity in American education, politics, and culture. In An Aristocracy of Everyone, Barber argues that the fashionable rallying cries of cultural literacy and political correctness completely miss the point of what is wrong with our society. While we fret about "the closing of the American mind" we utterly ignore the closing of American schools. While we worry about being edged out by Japanese technology we fall to tap the more fundamental ideological resources on which our country was founded. As Barber argues, the future of America lies not in competition but in education. Education in America can and must embrace both democracy and excellence. But how can this goal be achieved? Barber explodes the notion that the so-called canon of accepted history and literary texts is a monolithic structure and demonstrates persuasively that our national story has always comprised an intermingling of diverse, contradictory, often subversive voices. Multiculturalism has, from the very start, defined America. From his gripping portrait of America poised on the brink of unprecedented change, Barber offers a daringly original program for effecting change: for teaching democracy depends not only on the preeminence of education buton a resurgence of true community service. A ringing challenge to the complacency, cynicism, and muddled thinking of our time, An Aristocracy of Everyone will stand as a watershed volume In American Intellectual history. It will change the way you feel about being an American citi

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About the author (1994)

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Benjamin R. Barber is Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and the Wilson H. Elkins Professor at The Maryland School of Public Affairs at University of Maryland. He is also the author of Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age (1984) and The Conquest of Politics (1988).

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