Imagining democratic futures for public universities: Educational leadership against fatalism’s temptations
At current rates, almost all U.S. public universities could reach a point of zero state subsidy within the next fifty years. What is a public university without public funding? In this essay, Kathleen Knight Abowitz considers the future of public universities, drawing upon the analysis provided in John Dewey’s Democracy and Education. Knight Abowitz conducts an initial institutional analysis through two broad prisms: that of the political landscape that authorizes universities as public institutions, and that of the present political–economic context of public education in general and public universities in particular. Dewey’s conception of democratic education is then explored; his arguments regarding aims, experience, thinking, and social intelligence provide important tools for imagining the democratic futures of public universities today.
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