Can Schools Save Democracy? with Michael J. Feuer

Michael J. Feuer is Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University and the author of Can Schools Save Democracy? Civic Education and the Common Good. He joins host Mike Palmer in an insightful discussion about the role of education in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges including threats to democracy, polarization and more. 

Feuer explains his perspective that schools need to be part of the solution by equipping students with the analytical skills to think critically about issues like the tension between individual rights and the common good. He advocates for more interdisciplinary approaches in teacher preparation programs to connect future educators with experts across fields like economics, political science, and moral philosophy. The goal is to help teachers gain a deeper understanding of concepts like the “tragedy of the commons” so they can spark productive classroom discussions to engage students on relevant topics.

While schools can’t save democracy alone, Feuer argues they have an important role to play through civic education focused less on imparting viewpoints and more on developing thoughtful participation and debate. Don’t miss this conversation about a timely book that makes for great Thanksgiving (and any Family Holiday) dinner conversation.

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Episode References

Feuer, M. J. (2023). Can Schools Save Democracy? Johns Hopkins University Press.

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