EDUU 605 Democracy, Education and Social Change

Spring 2 2007 – Manhattan Beach

Ra y Gen, Ed.D.

e-mail: (day)
IM: docraygen

office hours: by appointment
cell: 310.908.1718

Class Calendar



Ann, Janice, Jocelyn, Leslie, Everett


Carol, Dawn, Seana, Celeste, Crystal






Students examine the relationship between democratic theory, educational practice, and social change.  Specific attention is paid to theories of democracy, the democratic nature of historical and current reform efforts, the contradictions and dilemmas of schooling, and the ways in which schooling might influence social change. 



By the end of the course the student should be able to . . .


1.         Craft personal definitions of democracy, social change, and their relationships.

2.         Articulate a position on the relationship of education, democracy and social change.

3.         Describe the democratic ramifications of current school issues such as, but not limited to, bilingual education, privatization, standards, sex education, vouchers, testing,
            tracking, grading practices, and core curriculum.

4.         Cite historical and current school reform efforts and the degree of their democratic commitment.

5.         Understand the democratic tensions and ethical dilemmas in daily school/ educational practice.

6.         Analyze the culture of their home schools or other work environments in terms of the democratic orientations and dilemmas with particular attention paid to race, class,
            gender and multi ethnic issues.

7.         Understand current movement toward democratic schools and design a democratic action plan for implementation in their schools.

8.         Assess the status of his or her own democratic personhood.

9.         Understand and conduct research (quantitative, qualitative, participatory as appropriate and feasible), related to democratic education.




1.         Theoretical notions of democracy and social change, theories of justice, philosophical and psychological approaches.


2.         Relationships among democracy, social change and education: can schools build "a new social order" or are the schools reflections only of existing social arrangements?


3.         Identification and analysis of current school issues such as but not limited to bilingual education, privatization, standards, sex education, vouchers, testing, tracking,

            grading practices, and core curriculum.


4.         School reform movements and degree of democratic commitment, eg. "good" schools, Coalition of Essential Schools, etc.


5.         Ethical dilemmas of schooling, issues of race, class, gender, and multi-ethnicity in daily school practice.


6.         Study and reports of individual schools' democratic orientation.


7.         The "ideal" example of democratic classrooms and schools; designing democratic action plans for school implementation.




     This course, to be consistent and internally valid will be democratic and highly participatory.   Student focused, its methodology includes large and small group dialogue, intensive close reading of textual material, experiences to foster self-understanding, in- and out-of-class writing, a collaborative research/action project, the use of video and other media, and guest speakers who will help us to focus on the democratic process and education, and what our role in these is.  In entering into communication with the written word through critical reading, the reader is led through a process of reflection that allows him/her to make meaning from this dialogue with the text and take action based on the new understandings gained.


Methods of Evaluation:

Students will be assessed based on the following criteria:

·        50% Class Participation (Discussions & Presentation

·        50% Class Papers




Dewey, J.  (1997).  Democracy and education.  New York: Free Press (feel free to use online etext)

Horton, M., & Freire, P.  (1990). We make the road by walking: Conversations on education and social change.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press.




Apple, M.W. & Beane, J.  (1996).  Democratic schools

Banks, J. A.  (1994).  An introduction to multicultural education
.  Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Madsen, R., Sullivan, W.M., Swidler, A., Tipton, SM., & Bellah, R.N. (Ed.). (1996). Habits of the heart: Individualism & commitment in American life (Updated ed.).  University of California Press.

Cummins, P.F. & Cummins, A.K. (1998).  For mortal stakes: Solutions for schools and society.  New York: Bramble Books.

Darder, A.  (1991).  Culture and power in the classroom: A critical foundation for bicultural education.  New York:Bergin & Garvey.

Guttman, A.  (1987).  Democratic education.  New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Hollins, E.R., King, J.E., Hayman, W.C. (Eds.).  (1994).  Teaching diverse populations: Formulating a knowledge base

            State University of New York Press.


Kohl, H.  (1988).  36 Children. New York: Plume Book, Penguin Group. 


Kohl., H.  (1994).  I won’t learn from you. The New Press.


Ladson-Billings, G.  (1994).  The dreamkeepers:  Successful teachers of African American children. San Francisco: J Jossey-Bass.


Meier, D. (1996). The power of their ideas.  New York: Beacon Books. 


Sadker, M. & D.  (1994).  Failing at fairness: How our schools cheat girls.  New York: Touchstone.





Attendance, preparedness and active participation.  Regular class attendance is important and expected.  Students are responsible for all materials used in class, as well as for any announcements concerning course policy and important dates. 


Written reflections:  Using understandings from Dewey as a frame of reference, class members will prepare at least five written reflections or journal entries in which each critically examines the democratic nature and orientation of her/his classroom, school or other work place.  These reflections should include:

(1)    the extent to which the individual’s classroom (school, workplace) reflects democratic processes as outlined in Education and Democracy;

(2)    specific examples to support conclusions arrived at in (1), and

(3)    how understanding of Dewey has contributed to understanding of one’s role as an educator.

The idea here is to turn the spotlight of creative reflection on one’s own work – as well as on the larger trends in our educational system -- using Dewey’s theoretical framework


On-line communication among class members:

Each class member will email to all members of the class an interesting/relevant resource, website, or article found on the Internet which supports the notion of democratic education today or which sheds light on the pedagogy of democratic education.


Book Review Presentation:

Class members in groups, will read, review, and present to the class in “fishbowl format” their understandings of the democratic education concepts and methods, and the historical events discussed by Freire and Horton in We Make the Road by Walking.  Other readings may also be assigned by the instructor.


Democratic Research Action Project:

Based on the class discussions, class members in groups of 3 to 4 persons will collaboratively develop and present a democratic research/action project which applies democratic education principles in their schools to inform and create change in educational practice and foster a more democratic, caring and just society.  This critical step in defining and proposing action is the translation of ideas generated from class discussion and reflection into action possibilities beyond the Chapman classroom and usually at the school site level.  Projects must be developed in consultation with the instructor.   Action research is performed in an actual classroom or school, and can entail the use of surveys, interviews, videos, photos, etc. 




Class Attendance policies are determined by each instructor and shall be included on the course outline distributed during the first week of each class.  The university recommends as a minimal policy that students who are absent 20% of the course should be failed.






Specific writing standards differ from discipline to discipline, and learning to write persuasively in any genre is a complex process, both individual and social, that takes place over time with continued practice and guidance.  Nonetheless, Chapman University has identified some common assumptions and practices that apply to most academic writing done at the university level.  These generally understood elements are articulated here to help students see how they can best express their ideas effectively, regardless of their discipline or any particular writing assignment.


Venues for writing include the widespread use of e-mail, electronic chat spaces and interactive blackboards.  Chapman University is committed to guaranteeing that students can expect all electronic communication to meet Federal and State regulations concerning harassment or other “hate” speech. Individual integrity and social decency require common courtesies and a mutual understanding that writing--in all its educational configurations--is an attempt to share information, knowledge, opinions and insights in fruitful ways.


Academic writing (as commonly understood in the university) always aims at correct Standard English grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


The following details are meant to give students accurate, useful, and practical assistance for writing across the curriculum of Chapman University College. 


Students can assume that successful collegiate writing will generally: 


·         Delineate the relationships among writer, purpose and audience by means of a clear focus (thesis statements, hypotheses or instructor-posed questions are examples of such focusing methods, but are by no means the only ones) and a topic that’s managed and developed appropriately for the specific task.


·         Display a familiarity with and understanding of the particular discourse styles of the discipline and/or particular assignment.


·         Demonstrate the analytical skills of the writer rather than just repeating what others have said by summarizing or paraphrasing


·         Substantiate abstractions, judgments, and assertions with evidence specifically applicable for the occasion whether illustrations, quotations, or relevant data.


·         Draw upon contextualized research whenever necessary, properly acknowledging the explicit work or intellectual property of others.


·         Require more than one carefully proofread and documented draft, typed or computer printed unless otherwise specified.



Any material not original to the student must be cited in a recognized documentation format (APA, ASA, MLA or Chicago-style) appropriate to the particular academic discipline.  For quick reference to documentation standards for various fields you may refer to:

 Deliberate use of information or material from outside sources without proper citation is considered plagiarism and can be grounds for disciplinary action.  See the explanation of Academic Integrity below.



As a learning community of scholars, Chapman University emphasizes the ethical responsibility of all its members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith.  Students are responsible for doing their own work, and academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. "Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, or misrepresentation of information in oral or written form.  Such violations will be dealt with severely by the instructor, the dean/center director, and the standards committee.  Plagiarism means presenting someone else's idea or writing as if it were your own.  If you use someone else's idea or writing, be sure the source is clearly documented." Other guidelines for acceptable student behavior are specified in the Chapman University College Catalog.






Student’s Name________________________________ Instructor _______________________________


Paper Assignment ______________________________Course Title______________________________



 (Instructor: Read the entire paper through then reflect on its merits employing the following criteria. Our goal is to provide guidance to the student progressively in order to improve the quality of his or her writing.)







The writer demonstrates an understanding of the assignment by using a style, form and language that is appropriate for its intended audience.





The writer has chosen a topic in accord with the assignment and limited it sufficiently to explore in depth in the space allotted.





The paper focuses its presentation by means of a clear statement of purpose (thesis statement, hypothesis or instructor posed question) and logically organized sub-topic paragraphs or sections.





The writer substantiates abstractions, judgments and assertions with specific illustrations, facts and evidence appropriate to the assignment and/or discipline.









The writer has added to on-going discussions of the topic with his or her own critical analysis, rather than simply repeating what others have said through quotation-stacking, paraphrasing or summaries.









The writer draws upon research whenever necessary to support critical analysis or assertions made and properly acknowledges the work of others by utilizing a standard documentation format acceptable for the course.









The paper conforms to the minimal essentials of Standard American English grammar, word choice, spelling and punctuation.










N S W = Needs Significant Work,                     D = Developing                     WD = Well Developed




The writer meets the needs of the particular  audience and succeeds in his or her  intended purpose--honestly engaging the subject and establishing her or his authority by offering a persuasive and supportable analysis.


Significant               Developing              Well Developed







If this version of the paper is to receive a grade, the grade is_______.   Instructor______ Date ______



Any personal learning accommodations that may be needed by a student covered by the “Americans with Disabilities Act” must be made known to the instructor as soon as possible.  This is the student's responsibility. Information about services, academic modifications and documentation requirements can be obtained from the director of the Center for Academic Success at the Orange Campus at 714-997-6828 or from the director of a Chapman regional campus.









See “supplemental texts”