This article uses a well-received recent text—Hess and McAvoy’s The Political Classroom—to suggest that democratic citizenship education today has a social accountability problem. I locate this discussion in the context of a longstanding conflict between the critical thinking approach to democratic citizenship education, the approach typified by The Political Classroom, and the critical pedagogical approach, which has an equal but opposite problem, that of indoctrination. If democratic citizenship educators are truly interested in transforming the social order, I suggest, then we need to listen appreciatively, and respond thoughtfully, to critiques of the approach we favor. The article ends by outlining a possible way forward, by means of a concept I term “transformative criticality.” I suggest that such an approach to criticality is enacted in another well-received recent volume in the field, Stitzlein’s Teaching for Dissent.

Response to this Article

Nick Burbules, Being Critical About Being Critical