What does it mean to be “patriotic” in the United States after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001? And how have the prevailing notions of patriotism—loudly trumpeted in the American media—affected education in American schools? In this wide-ranging, thoughtful, and spirited book, renowned educational leaders and classroom practitioners answer these questions with insights, opinions, and hard facts.
Pledging Allegiance: The Politics of Patriotism in America's Schools Joel Westheimer Publication date: March 1, 2007
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"What does it mean to be a democratic citizen? And what kind of education produces one? For the past two decades, Joel Westheimer has been one of North America's most knowledgeable and able guides to these critical issues. Along the way, he has forced us to reconsider the larger goals and purposes of our public schools. His book will provide an invaluable roadmap for anyone who asks the big questions, no matter what they think of his answers."
–Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of Education and History, New York University
“The essays in this book come at a critical moment and should be welcomed by anyone who is concerned that the values of peace, of democracy, be held high by the coming generation.”
—From the Foreword by Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States
“A valuable sourcebook for those who are uncertain about what patriotism is and, even more, for those who are certain that they know.”
–Howard Gardner, Harvard University, author of Five Minds for the Future
“By bringing together diverse and often divergent perspectives of patriotism, Pledging Allegiance opens to critical scrutiny the very idea of loyalty to a country. In doing so, it not only offers a useful educational resource but also performs a valuable political service. I can’t think of many books more likely to stimulate deep reflection and spirited discussion, and these activities, after all, are integral to democracy itself.”
–Alfie Kohn, author of What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated?
“A powerful and timely account of the struggles between authoritarian and democratic patriotism in the schools.”
–David Tyack, Stanford University
“This volume is a must-read for educators, organizers, lawyers, youth, activists, and those who have politically fallen asleep in the 21st century. Joel Westheimer is to be congratulated for gathering such an incredible group of writers who dare to imagine what could be, in the ashes of what is.”
–Michelle Fine, The Graduate Center – City University of New York
“Asks hard questions about what it means to ask the most of our country—and how we can teach this in our schools. Offers strong reflections and perspectives on the fundamental stories about our country that we tell our future citizens.”
–Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen
“Joel Westheimer has brought together a fine and thoughtful collection of essays that probe the perhaps inevitable but nevertheless deeply problematic role of patriotism in a democratic society.”
–Frances Fox Piven, Graduate School and University Center, CUNY
“Reading this splendid book will prevent you from ever taking the pledge of allegiance casually. The rituals and compulsions that bind us to national loyalties have seldom been better dissected.”
–Andrew Ross, New York University
"Is patriotism compatible with democratic education or citizenship? Taking on civic educators' most enduring questions, Pledging Allegiance is a primer in how to enrich civic education for today's youth. What could be more patriotic?"
—Daniel Perlstein, University of California, Berkeley
“I want to use every page, every word to teach my classes. It’s layered, profound, eye opening, filled with gems that confirm, shatter, and challenge what I believe. Every teacher in America should read this book.”
–Terri Camajani, social studies teacher, George Washington High School, San Francisco