Michael Feuer - "Can Schools Save Democracy?" - Paul Goren

Friday, December 8, 2023 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Michael Feuer

Michael Feuer will discuss Can Schools Save Democracy?: Civic Education and the Common Good. He will be joined in conversation by Paul Goren. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

This event will be held in person at The Seminary Co-op.


About the book: How can education protect and strengthen democracy? In an era when democracy is at critical risk, is it reasonable to expect the education system—already buckling under the ordeal of a global pandemic—to solve the converging problems of inequality, climate change, and erosion of trust in government and science? Will more civics instruction help? In Can Schools Save Democracy? 

Michael J. Feuer offers a new approach to addressing these questions with a strategy for improving the process and substance of civic education. Although schooling alone cannot save democracy, it must play a part. Feuer introduces a framework for educator preparation that emphasizes collective action, experiential learning, and partnerships between schools and their complex constituencies. His proposed reform aims to equip teachers with an appreciation of the paradoxes of pluralism—in particular, the tensions between individual choice and social outcomes. And he offers practical suggestions for how to bring those concepts to life so that students in and out of the classroom acquire the skills, knowledge, and dispositions for enlightened democratic leadership. 

Adopting a definition of public education that celebrates the engagement between schools and their environments, Feuer argues for reinforced partnerships within the education system and between educators and their diverse constituents. He anticipates new collaborations between education faculty and their colleagues in the behavioral, social, and physical sciences and humanities; stronger links between schools and their complex outside environments; and improved mechanisms for global cooperation. Can Schools Save Democracy? includes lively examples of how theoretical principles can inform familiar problems and offers a hopeful path for progress toward a stronger democracy. 

About the author: Michael Feuer is Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Professor of Education Policy at the George Washington University, past president of the National Academy of Education, and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He came to GW in 2010 after 25 years in leadership roles at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. He was appointed by President Obama in 2014 to the National Board for Education Sciences, and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Educational Research Association.

Feuer is the author of Moderating the Debate: Rationality and the Promise of American Education (2006), and The Rising Price of Objectivity: Philanthropy, Government, and the Future of Education Research (2016), both published by Harvard Education Press. His essays, commentaries, book reviews, and poems have appeared in newspapers, blogs, and magazines in the US and abroad. He consults to governments and research organizations in Europe, Israel, and elsewhere. Dr. Feuer received his BA in English from Queens College (CUNY), the MA in public management from the Wharton School, and the PhD in public policy from the University of Pennsylvania. He has studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and taught at Drexel University and Georgetown. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife Regine, a physician certified in both ob-gyn and addiction medicine. The Feuers have two grown children.

About the interlocutor: Paul Goren is Director of E4: The Center for Education Efficacy, Excellence, and Equity at Northwestern University. Paul has spent his career in positions at the intersection of education practice, policy, and research. Prior to serving as E4 Director, he was Superintendent of Schools at Evanston/Skokie (IL) School District 65 for 5+ years where he led work on curriculum reform, racial equity, restorative practices and social/emotional learning while ensuring financial stability. Prior to joining District 65, Goren was Senior Vice President for Program at CASEL in Chicago. Previously he served as the Interim Chief for Strategy and Accountability for Chicago Public Schools while working as Executive Director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research. Additionally, Goren worked in leadership positions in Minneapolis Public Schools and the San Diego City Schools, and as Senior Vice president of the Spencer Foundation and Program Director for Child and Youth Development at the MacArthur Foundation.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstores
5751 S Woodlawn
Chicago, IL 60637