Culture and the common school

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay addresses the question: given the flattening out of the cultural hierarchy that was the vestige of colonialism and nation-building, is there anything that might be uniquely common about the common school in this postmodern age? By 'uniquely common' I do not mean those subjects that all schools might teach, such as reading or arithmetic. Nor do I mean just subjects that might serve a larger public purpose, but that might be taught in either publicly supported or privately supported schools. Rather I mean subjects that speak to the shaping of a child's identity as a member of a common community in the way that the common school was intended to create when its commission was to develop and maintain a single national or colonial identity and loyalty. I argue that there is a kind of connectivity that common schools should foster even as the nation-building and colonial past is rejected, and that this connectivity is what is common about the common schools. I argue that any concept of culture that merely flattens out the normative dimension of educating is deficient as an educational theory, and propose a conception of culture that is educationally productive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-607
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History
  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Culture and the common school'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this