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Abstract

Westheimer’s central argument in What Kind of Citizen? Educating our Children for the Common Good is that the current climate around public education—marked, in general, by standardization in our schools—is not conducive to the development of thoughtful and critically engaged public citizens. Westheimer demonstrated convincingly that schools—in response to recent education reform and, in some cases, pressure from parents and other education stakeholders—have increasingly emphasized individual goals at the expense of educating children for the common good. Furthermore and related, in this age of standardized testing, school curricula have become more narrowly focused on achievement in math and literacy at the expense of the broader (and less testable) aims of citizenship education. Westheimer’s goal in this book was to chart a corrective course for our schools by focusing our attention on important questions about the kind of society we imagine, the kind of citizens we want our children to be, and the kind of educational programs required to develop such citizens. This is a sympathetic review that seeks to extend Westheimer’s thinking more explicitly to teacher education by asking what kind of teacher education programs we need in order to develop thinking, engaged citizen teachers.