Can the Public Schools Produce Good Citizens?

Essay by ReggaeyouthUniversity, Master'sA, February 2010

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State the main pro ideas:There seems to be a controversy as to whether or not public schools can produce good citizens. The article seeks to highlight the concerns about the level of preparation of the young for participation in democratic life in public schools. The researcher stated that civic education as a central purpose of school cannot be disputed. He cited quotations from Horace Mann who stated that common school was dedicated to critically judge the political and social needs of the nation. He felt that only public schools could accomplish this because private schools tend to encourage students to develop a limited political perspective.

The researcher also cited Charles N. Quinley of the Center for Civic Education. He stated that formal instruction should provide students with an understanding of civic life, government, and fundamental values underlying our democracy. He went on further to state that this goal is seldom given systematic attention in the public school curriculum but may well be missing in private schools.

It was also noted by the researcher that the best available evidence suggests that teaching students about current events, the political process, and how to get involved can make them more willing and able to practice good citizenship.

State the main con ideas:Writers such as Joel Spring points out that in a totalitarian society it is possible to teach a single interpretation of the laws and government in public schools. However, in a society such as that of the United States, which fosters a variety of political beliefs, the attempts to teach principles of government can result in major political battles. This may be due to the fact that there are several races and beliefs and cultures represented in the United States.

The article points out that critics also question the very idea...