The Politics of Patriotism in America's Schools
Joel Westheimer, Editor. Forward by Howard Zinn
Book Cover Artwork
For Michal and Benjamin
History is yours to make.
It is not owned or written by someone else for you to learn.
It is being made by you, right now, reading this page,
thinking and acting on the ideas you will
read about in the pages that follow.
It is your rage, your sympathy, your understanding. *
* Adapted from the text included in an exhibit at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.
Some months ago, I sat in the New York City living room of my friends George and Photini talking about U.S. policy in the ongoing war in Iraq. George had just finished reading some of the material for this book, and he said to me, “Of course this book had to be written from Canada rather than from within the United States.”
My initial reaction was to shrug off George’s comments. After all, I’ve spent thirty-nine of my forty-three years living in the United States. Although my current position at a Canadian university is fortuitous, considering my terrific colleagues and my Canadian wife, Barbara’s, appointment at a nearby university, my job’s geographic locale seemed hardly significant for my work on this project.
Yet, as I reflected on George’s observation, I thought about what Margaret Mead had said: “If human beings were fish, the last thing we would discover is water.” To be sure, there are a number of excellent books, journal and magazine articles, and editorial pieces written about American patriotism, but I perhaps underestimated the value of living outside of the United States while putting together this collection. Sometimes we see most clearly those forces that act on our lives only when we can, at least partially, step outside of their influence. At the same time, residing outside of the United States while producing this collection of essays made my ties to colleagues and friends all the more important.
This book began as a special issue of the education journal Phi Delta Kappan on patriotism and education that I edited in 2003. I am indebted to the tremendously professional and able staff that helped me pull together the essays for that collection. Kappan editor Bruce Smith was always ready with thoughtful suggestions and witty exchanges. Risë Koben, Delaine McCullough, and Carol Bucheri also all added their expertise.
At Teachers College Press, I owe special thanks to Carole Saltz and series editor Bill Ayers, both of whom are colleagues extraordinaire as well as friends. Their guidance at every step of the process was invaluable and always went above and beyond what was required. Similarly, Shannon Waite, Leyli Shayegan, and Judy Berman all worked tirelessly to shape and improve the work. I am grateful for their ever-present enthusiasm for the project.
In Canada I have been lucky to have many welcoming and supportive colleagues. Marie Josée Berger stimulated this project not only with material and collegial support but also with Haitian-grown coffee beans. Yves Herry has scaled the highest mountains (both the real kind made of rock and the metaphorical kind within our university) to always ensure that I had the resources—especially time—required to complete both the preceding Kappan issue and this book. Martin Barlosky, Sharon Cook, Brad Cousins, Barbara Graves, David Paré, Chris Suurtamm, and Tim Stanley are among the best colleagues one could have, ensuring that my transition from New York University to the University of Ottawa was entirely positive, exciting, and rewarding. Musical interludes were absolutely essential, and so I thank (in addition to Martin and David above) Caleb Lauer, Paul Paré, and Richard Pinet for making sure that bouts of American patriotism were interspersed with music of multinational origins.
I owe a great deal to karen emily suurtamm, not least for the level of patience that must be required to work with someone with a few too many overlapping deadlines. A superb project director for Democratic Dialogue (www.democraticdialogue.com) and an outstanding research assistant, karen’s thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and creativity made this book possible. I also received invaluable research assistance for this project from Alessandra Iozzo-Duval and Luz Alison Molina.
Funders provided direct and indirect support to this and related projects. I am indebted to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, the University of Ottawa Research Chair program, the Faculty of Education, and the Surdna Foundation for support.
Several friends and colleagues indulged my need to discuss the finer points of patriotic education, read occasional drafts, and offered advice and support: Michael Berkowitz, George Bourozikas, Robby Cohen, Sondra Cuban, Joel Einleger, Danny Factor, Maxine Greene, Joe Kahne, Hillary Kunins, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Gordon Lafer, Ted and Steve Leckie, Pierre Lehu, Nel Noddings, Franny Nudelman, Dan Perlstein, Photini Sinnis, David Tyack, and Miriam Westheimer.
David Holton (www.wordforward.com) created the design for the cover, and Walter Parker provided the perfect title (brazenly borrowed from the title of his essay). Larry Cuban has been my mentor and friend for 18 years, and I thank him for his always tough and probing questions.
My mother, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, came to the United States two decades after she left Germany, alone, at the age of 10 on a kindertransport. Patriotism is palpable in my mother’s gratitude for U.S. soldiers’ heroic World War II liberation of concentration camps. She has taught me a great deal about loyalty, gratitude, and joie de vivre.
Barbara Leckie is my constant support, a kind critic, and the love of my life.
17 July 2006
Table of Contents
Foreword by Howard Zinn
Once Upon a Time When Patriotism Was What You Did, Gloria Ladson-Billings
No Black in the Union Jack: The Ambivalent Patriotism of Black Americans, Charles M. Payne
Educators in the War on Terrorism, Pedro Noguera and Robby Cohen
"Children Are the Living Message We Send to a Time We Will Not See", Delaine Eastin
The Psychology of Patriotism, Michael J. Bader
Second Fiddle to Fear, Denise Walsh
On Patriotism and the Yankees: Lessons Learned From Being a Fan, Deborah Meier
Patriotism, Nationalism, and Our Jobs as Americans, James W. Loewen
Another Way to Teach Politically Without P.C.: Teaching the Debate About Patriotism, Gerald Graff
Pledging Allegiance, Walter C. Parker
Patriotism Is a Bad Idea at a Dangerous Time, Robert Jense
Patriotism Makes Kids Stupid, Bill Bigelow
Celebrating America, Diane Ravitch
Teaching Patriotism-with Conviction, Chester E. Finn Jr.
Hearts and Minds: Military Recruitment and the High School Battlefield, William Ayers
Weapons of Fatal Seduction: Latinos and the Military, Héctor Calderón
A Small Space of Sanity, Studs Terkel
Is Patriotism Good for Democracy?, Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh
I Solemnly Swear, Joan Kent Kvitka
Patriotism and Ideological Diversity in the Classroom, Diana Hess and Louis Ganzler
Toeing the Line and the Law: First Amendment Rights in Schools, karen emily suurtamm with Edwin C. Darden, Esq.
"Patriotism, Eh?" The Canadian Version, Sharon Anne Cook
Patriot Acts: This Isn't the First Time, Cecilia O'Leary
Patriotism's Secret History, Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks
Politics and Patriotism in Education, Joel Westheimer
Poetry and Patriotism, Maxine Greene
Patriotism by the Numbers, Cindy Sheehan
Resources for Educators
About the Editor and Contributors
Introduction: Joel Westheimer
A cartoon published in the New Yorker in October 2001 shows a couple in a New York apartment entertaining friends. As the hosts clutch each other's hands, the woman confesses to their guests, "We're still getting used to feeling patriotic." Another New Yorker cartoon shows a policeman walking away from a car. Inside, reading the newly issued ticket, the driver asks his passenger incredulously, "Flagless in a patriotic zone?" In a third cartoon, an elegantly dressed woman hands a pile of expensive dresses, a fur coat, and her credit card to a sales clerk and says, "This isn't for me—it's for the economy."
New Yorker cartoons are hardly a barometer of national sentiment about patriotism following 9/11, but the magazine has a distribution of over 800,000—a large percentage of which are subscriptions in the city where the Twin Towers fell—and its authors, cartoonists, and even advertisers have reflected a mélange of conflicted feelings about loyalty, solidarity, and the right to dissent in a democracy. Editor David Remnick was initially criticized for censoring authors and capitulating to pressure from the Bush Administration to lend support to military operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but the magazine also was where Susan Sontag furiously observed that "the unanimity of the sanctimonious, reality-concealing rhetoric spouted by American officials and media commentators in recent days seems, well, unworthy of a mature democracy." Perhaps the contributor who most plainly captured the confusion of the months to come was cartoonist Victoria Roberts, who drew a middle-aged husband and wife sitting down to dinner. Both look slightly perplexed as the husband says simply, "Who ever thought patriotism could be so complicated?"
The complexity of patriotism is further reflected in the great many ways it has been represented by politicians, the media, authors, critics, and religious leaders. Each has shaped various ideas about patriotism and its importance to national unity and sought to advance particular notions of patriotism over others. Nowhere are the debates around these various visions of patriotic attachment more pointed, more protracted, and more consequential than in our nation's schools. In Madison, Wisconsin, the parent community erupted in fierce debate over a new law requiring schools to post American flags in each classroom and to lead students in either pledging allegiance each day or playing the national anthem. In Detroit, Michigan, a student was repeatedly suspended, first for wearing a t-shirt with an upside-down American flag, and then for wearing a sweatshirt with an anti-war quotation by Albert Einstein, before the ACLU filed a civil liberties suit resulting in the students' reinstatement. And in Virginia, House Bill 1912, which would have required schools to notify parents any time a child declined to recite or stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, passed the House of Delegates with a 93–4 vote. (The bill was ultimately defeated in the State Senate.) As these and many other such stories make clear, patriotism is highly contested territory, especially when it comes to the daily activities of the nation's schoolchildren.
This book explores the relationship between patriotism and education, and it does so from a variety of perspectives. It is also a deeply personal undertaking. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I stood with my wife and daughter on a street corner 18 city blocks away from the World Trade Center and watched as the second plane hit the South tower. Soon after, both buildings collapsed into the impossibly dense financial district streets below. No written description can capture the haunting silence, shock, and grief that spread across our fellow New Yorkers—who stood with us on that corner and on countless other corners, in cafés, and in living rooms throughout the city—in the minutes that followed. It was not long after the second tower fell that the first office workers arrived at our corner covered in dust and debris and carrying first-hand accounts of what had happened. As rumors of gas explosions spread and as the enormity of the events slowly revealed themselves, we raced home to fetch bicycles and pedal uptown to Washington Heights, the northern Manhattan community where my mother lives—still close by but removed from the noxious air that ensued for months after the attacks. We spent the next few days, like most New Yorkers, communing with others on the streets, in local restaurants, and in parks, trying to make sense of the unthinkable.
Given the still-contentious debates over the teaching of the events of September 11 and of patriotic civic duties more generally, I should explain, then, what some readers may perceive as bias in the content of this book. To be sure there are views contained herein that span a broad spectrum of political positions and ideological perspectives on patriotism and education, but the careful reader will no doubt note a gentle advocacy for a form of patriotism that embodies dissent more than unquestioned loyalty and government support.
Here's why: Following the morning of September 11, the outpouring of support and solidarity from across the United States and the world was breathtaking—which is what made the subsequent inexplicable news blackouts all the more curious and hurtful. Every week for months following September 11, thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Union Square and Times Square and marched up Fifth Avenue, Sixth Avenue, and Broadway to warn against hasty military acts of vengeance. It was in these weekly gatherings and marches that many New Yorkers who had lost family members, colleagues, and friends expressed their heartfelt belief that national grieving should take place immediately, but that foreign policy decisions should emerge from reasoned deliberation and debate and not from rushed emotions or political grandstanding. These weekly, sometimes massive, outpourings were summarily ignored by all mainstream media outlets. To be sure, periods of mourning at these gatherings were covered exhaustively. The entire nation is familiar with the images of burning candles, photographs of missing relatives, and pro-war banners. But five weeks after September 11, New York's own Channel One news, a part of Time Warner, seemed to offer the first meager coverage of just one of the protest gatherings. The coverage lasted for fourteen seconds on their evening news broadcast and reached New York City–based Time- Warner cable TV subscribers only.
In the past five years, despite a few significant outliers, mainstream news, media coverage, and school curriculum and activities about the September 11 attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the larger and more elusive "war on terrorism" have been overwhelmingly in support of no-questions-asked civic policy towards government actions. Indeed, until recently, a "wanted-dead-or-alive" bravado pervaded newspapers, television, and classrooms throughout the country. Even the massive protests that immediately preceded the Republican National Convention in New York City in August 2004 were strangely ignored or diminished by most media outlets. I know many people who reported the eerie sensation of marching among tens of thousands of protesters up Sixth Avenue beneath the enormous live-screen TV for Fox News. Above the throngs, for hours on end, Fox News steadily broadcast a repeating video clip of workers inside Madison Square Garden unfolding empty chairs in preparation for the following day's convention. There was no mention of the tens of thousands of protesters walking literally right outside of Fox's New York headquarters for virtually the entire day. It was like the protesters didn't even exist.
In short, there are plenty of sources from which to find represented arguments for the kind of patriotic allegiance to government that borders on what I call (in Chapter 13) "authoritarian patriotism." In fact, there is little need to rehearse the arguments that follow this position because the perspective is so well represented in our daily exposure to news, television, advertising, and other manifestations of popular culture. This book predominantly and unapologetically emphasizes the other side—a kind of patriotism that goes by many names: cosmopolitan patriotism, real patriotism, progressive patriotism, and democratic patriotism, to name a few.  For those readers already familiar with these perspectives, you will find in this volume a detailed articulation of the inherent complexity in forging a critical kind of patriotism that allows—indeed encourages—healthy democratic dissent, especially as it relates to schools. For those readers who are more inclined to assert the need to teach children to have pride and loyal adherence to the United States without distraction or confusion from dissenting accounts, I encourage you to read this book with an open mind. There are a great variety of perspectives represented inside, many of which you are sure to find engaging and challenging.
Before I describe the chapters that follow, let me return momentarily to the realm of comics, since they capture so well the mix of public sentiment around deeply complex political issues. A high school social studies teacher I know developed a curriculum for her students that would engage the full complexity of issues that arose following the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Frustrated with the lack of curricular resource materials available, she found, through the Rethinking Schools website, a suggestion to use political cartoons in order to examine the contentious issues arising from the war. Enthusiastically, she put together several lessons that would allow her students to examine critically all sides of the debates about the war by culling cartoons from across the political spectrum. But when two of the cartoons she used raised the ire of a parent of one of her students, her principal requested that she discontinue the lessons.
The two offending cartoons both came from the controversial comic strip "Boondocks," the brainchild of twenty-eight-year-old cartoonist Aaron McGruder. The strip stars Huey Freeman, a little African American kid living in suburbia who has attracted more than his share of controversy. The first cartoon the teacher used (shown below) was originally published on Thanksgiving Day 2001, when polls suggested that President Bush's approval ratings were higher than 90% and when popular support for the war on terror was widespread. Huey is leading the Thanksgiving prayer: "Ahem," he begins. "In this time of war against Osama bin Laden and the oppressive Taliban regime, we are thankful that our leader isn't the spoiled son of a powerful politician from a wealthy oil family who is supported by religious fundamentalists, operates through clandestine organizations, has no respect for the democratic electoral process, bombs innocents, and uses war to deny people their civil liberties. Amen." The second strip the teacher used shows Huey calling the FBI's antiterrorist hotline to report that he has the names of Americans who helped train and finance Osama bin Laden. "Okay, give me some names," the FBI agent says. And Huey responds: "All right, let's see, the first one is Reagan. That's R-E-A-G . . ."
Students responded to these and the other cartoons used with an enthusiasm for debate that the teacher reported she had rarely witnessed in her classroom. She was careful to ensure that students received exposure to the broad spectrum of political perspectives, and, she noted, a vast majority of her students sported a plethora of patriotic symbols on their clothes and schoolbags during the weeks following 9/11.
Schools, of course, did not invent the brand of patriotism that involves stifling democratic debate. The same fear of dissenting viewpoints sometimes witnessed in schools can also be seen outside. It was not only the sixteen- and seventeen-year-old students of this teacher who were prohibited from debating McGruder's critique of the war. Some of the 250 newspapers that run the "Boondocks" strip pulled it either selectively or in its entirety after September 11. Many noted that it was "too political." In what could arguably be a successful alignment, the school curriculum may actually prepare students well for the adult world they are soon to enter—one in which, as McGruder observes, the media have "become so conglomerated that there are really very few avenues left for people to express dissent."
Indeed, there is some evidence that many are learning the lessons of my-country-right-or-wrong patriotism very well. In response to a "Doonesbury" strip that was critical of Bush Administration policies, some readers posted notes on the "Doonesbury" website. A reader from Maurepas, Louisiana, wrote: "Your . . . biased state of mind has no place for a patriotic thinking America. Grow up. . . . We are at War!" A reader from Melbourne, Florida, wrote: "Your disloyalty to our society and our country shine through quite clearly." Apparently confusing former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau with "Doonesbury" creator Gary Trudeau, one reader from Arkansas echoed the xenophobic sentiments so often part and parcel of jingoistic patriotism: "Why don't you go back to Canada, or even better France?" But perhaps Virginia Beach resident Stuart Schwartz best captured the attitude toward dissent shared by those who favor what I describe in Chapter 13 as "authoritarian patriotism": "Please do the public a service and die."
A Pew Research Center poll in 2003 found that 92% of respondents agreed either completely or mostly with the statement "I am very patriotic." . However, as will become clear when reading this book, what it means to be patriotic is a matter of considerable debate. And it always has been. As far back as the 1890s, policy makers realized that public schools could serve as a "mighty engine for the inculcation of patriotism."  One hundred and sixteen years later, patriotism and its role in the school curriculum remain disputed territory.
A Map of the Book
In Chapter 1, Gloria Ladson-Billings shares a deeply personal exploration of what it means to be a patriotic African American woman in the United States. "I am a patriot," she flatly declares, adding, "To most people who know me that statement probably comes as a surprise." Ladson-Billings, who is past president of the American Educational Research Association, takes readers through her experiences growing up as an African American in the 1950s and 1960s and deftly examines the effects of those experiences on her thinking about the United States and about her patriotic attachments. How are we to understand patriotism, she asks, in a country where African Americans could be excluded from attending schools that White children attended or where "a fourteen-year-old boy from Chicago could be killed (beaten, lynched, castrated, and drowned) for whistling at a White woman"? Many members of Ladson-Billings's family served proudly in the military—in segregated units. Criticizing the "vacuous speeches" and "empty rhetoric" that politicians employ when they talk about what it means to be patriotic, Ladson-Billings reclaims the noble call to patriotic action on behalf of all U.S. citizens and those who are powerless around the globe.
In Chapter 2, Pedro Noguera and Robby Cohen ask readers to think about what educators' responsibilities are in wartime. Digging deep into the nation's past, they present provocative historical examples that do not lend themselves to facile analysis or good-guy/bad-guy stories. They ask whether, in an era of educational accountability, educators are ignoring their responsibility to students to present clear and accurate information on varying viewpoints about the "war on terrorism." "Given that our nation is at war in at least two countries," they ask, "shouldn't educators be accountable for ensuring that all students have some understanding of why we are fighting, of whom we are at war with, and of what is at stake?"
In Chapter 3, clinical psychologist Michael Bader asks readers to consider the psychological needs served by various expressions of patriotic fervor. From a psychologist's perspective, he examines the collective responses both to 9/11 and to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. In a compelling analysis of the links between our need for security and protection and our early life experiences at home, Bader suggests that patriotism can be a force for good or evil, but that the key to understanding our own motivations is to understand their emotional and psychological roots in the universal need for attachment and affiliation. He draws on twenty-five years of clinical experience to show that patriotism often offers a symbolic resolution to longings we all experience for both safety and relatedness. Bader shows how both the political Left and the political Right "seek to link their partisan agendas to the evocation and satisfaction of these frustrated longings."
Deborah Meier, school reform activist and founder of Central Park East schools, examines the connection between her vision of patriotism and her loyalty to the New York Yankees in Chapter 4. Detailing her experience growing up in the 1940s when "good and evil seemed so clear," Meier deftly dissects the multiple and sometimes conflicting forces influencing first, second, and third generation immigrants to the United States. At the same time, in comparing fandom for a sports team and unquestioning patriotic allegiance to a government, Meier raises important distinctions and challenging questions.
"In most schools and colleges today," writes Gerald Graff in Chapter 5, "students typically go from one classroom in which the openness and fairness of our system is the default assumption to another in which the system is viewed as unfairly rigged." Graff argues for a third way: Teach the debate about patriotism itself. Present students with multiple and opposing positions and ask them to form their own opinions. Avoiding both political indoctrination and "spurious neutrality" (mindless reinforcement of the status quo), Graff's method explicitly brings controversial questions into the classroom. Graff's essay also makes clear the nexus between the structure of the one-teacher classroom found in most schools, colleges, and universities, and "pedagogical authoritarianism," in which only one side of the issues gets airtime.
In Chapter 6, Robert Jensen makes a strong case for abandoning the notion of patriotism altogether. "I am against nationalism, and I am against patriotism," he writes. In his cogent and provocative essay, Jensen first dismisses the idea that patriotism in a democracy obliges all citizens to support the nation as it goes to war. But he goes on to question the competing idea, argued by some anti-war organizers, that "dissent and critique of an immoral, illegal, and counterproductive war" are also expressions of patriotism. Drawing on his extensive experience as a journalist, Jensen questions whether the word patriotism is worth redefining and explores journalists' response to the conundrum.
In Chapter 7, Diane Ravitch challenges us to think about what schools actually do to encourage students' appreciation of U.S. culture. She points out that educators stand strong in their belief that children's self-esteem is linked to knowledge and appreciation of their ancestral culture but not to the culture of the United States, where they live and will one day vote and raise children. "How strange," Ravitch muses, "to teach a student born in this country to be proud of his parents' or grandparents' land of birth but not of his or her own. Or to teach a student whose family fled to this country from a tyrannical regime or from dire poverty to identify with that nation rather than with the one that gave the family refuge." Critical of jingoistic conceptions of patriotism, Ravitch nonetheless calls attention to the need to respect and celebrate the nation's heritage and democratic principles and ideals.
Patriotism and war have been intertwined in complex ways since the dawn of the nation-state. Many readers may know that the No Child Left Behind Act includes a provision that requires high schools to turn over students' personal information to military recruiters. In addition, the Pentagon now maintains a database of some 30 million sixteen- to twenty-five-year olds, including their names, ethnicities, addresses, cell phone numbers, family information, extracurricular activities, and areas of study (for more information, watch the eleven-minute video at www.LeaveMyChildAlone.org). In Chapter 8, "Hearts and Minds: Military Recruitment and the High School Battlefield," William Ayers tracks the recent explosion of military presence in U.S. schools and classrooms, paying special attention to Chicago. Ayers notes that Chicago has the largest JROTC program in the country and, according to some, the "most militarized" school system in America. His powerful stories of recruits, veterans, and Purple Heart recipients are as emotionally wrenching as they are deeply hopeful. What's more, his topic has important historical antecedents. For example, in 1911, Katherine Devereux Blake, a New York City elementary school principal, predicted an upcoming struggle in public education between those who advocate a greater military presence in schools and those who want students to learn peace. "They are organized for war," Blake proclaimed. "We must be organized for peace."  In this essay, Ayers details the heavy incursions those who are "organized for war" have made.
In Chapter 9, Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh provide a systematic and sobering examination of high school students' attitudes toward patriotism. They surveyed over two thousand seniors in twelve California high schools and conducted fifty focus groups to learn about students' patriotic commitments. Regardless of your beliefs about the importance of teaching patriotism in schools, it's reasonable to ask what should be taught, and what students already think and know, about patriotism. Kahne and Middaugh's findings are likely to challenge your assumptions. For example, although a majority of high school seniors believe that "if you love America, you should notice its problems and work to correct them," only 16% of high school seniors express consistent support for what the authors see as a democratic vision of patriotism. Moreover, most students do not necessarily see any connection between patriotism and civic participation.
Diana Hess and Louis Ganzler describe, in Chapter 10, a study of ideological diversity among students in U.S. classrooms. After an extensive study of over nine hundred and fifty students in twenty schools, they assert that having a diversity of opinions and perspectives within any classroom is the surest way to ensure the strength of our democratic institutions and our democratic polity. Teachers who aim to develop young patriots, they argue, should encourage students to "learn that a diversity of views is to be cultivated, not repressed." Vigorous discussions of political issues in classrooms with a diversity of political opinions, they note, is sadly too rare in the nation's public schools.
In "Patriotism, Eh?" (Chapter 11), Sharon Cook adds a Canadian perspective on patriotism and education. This contribution from the north proves what anthropologists know so well: One's understanding of one's own culture is greatly improved by the study of another. My (and Cook's) country of residence, Canada, offers a starkly different perspective on American notions of patriotism. Canadians, Cook argues, have pride in peacefulness, in welcoming new immigrants (at a higher per-capita rate than virtually any Western nation), and in caring for the nation's citizens and other residents. By analyzing key historical events, Cook plumbs the significance of Canada's relationships to England and the United States. She explains that national patriotism in Canada (though it too has had its excesses) is generally of a mild-mannered kind, perhaps because a more jingoistic form "seems unnecessary if one already finds inclusion in the family of a respected imperial power."
In Chapter 12, Cecilia O'Leary details the history of patriotism in American schooling and shows that the Patriot Act and the school and civic policies that followed are only a continuation of long-standing historical trends in patriotic fervor and the nation's schools. A historical overview of the twentieth century, O'Leary suggests, reveals a reoccurrence of a militarist form of patriotism, often in response to war and periods of increased immigration. Moreover, she argues, this form of patriotism has "more often than not undermined the very ideals it purports to protect."
Finally, my essay, "Politics and Patriotism in Education" (Chapter 13), explores the ideological and political battles that are being waged in the name of patriotism in U.S. classrooms. I suggest categories that can help educators examine the politics of patriotism in schools. Like Kahne and Middaugh, I argue that patriotism and democratic ideals are not inherently at odds with one another but that a democratic form of patriotism is far from inevitable. To the contrary, there is much cause for concern over a far more dangerous brand of patriotic sentiment that is better described as "authoritarian" and that is widely on the rise. I detail examples of these worrisome developments from classrooms across the country and describe alternative models for teaching democratic patriotism to the nation's schoolchildren and young adults.
Between chapters, this book also features a series of point of view opinion pieces in which fourteen prominent educators and public figures from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives provide short responses to the question "What should children learn in school about patriotism?" The answers are as diverse and fascinating as the contributing authors. After reading responses from Studs Terkel, James W. Loewen, Cindy Sheehan, Maxine Greene, Bill Bigelow, Walter Parker, Charles Payne, Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks, Héctor Calderón, Joan Kent Kvitka, Chester Finn, Denise Walsh, karen emily suurtamm and Edwin Darden, and Delaine Eastin, you are unlikely to think about patriotism and education in precisely the same way as you did before.
This book sets out to capture the controversies surrounding patriotism and education. Like the teacher who wanted to show a range of controversial opinions using cartoons, the contributors to this volume express a healthy variety of viewpoints and approaches to the topic. In Spheres of Justice, Michael Walzer argues that the democratic citizen must be "ready and able, when the time comes," to engage in dialogue and "to deliberate with fellow [citizens], listen and be listened to."  The authors of this book write in that spirit.
- See Edward S. Herman, The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader (New York: Peter Lang, 1999).
- See, respectively, Martha Nussbaum's notion of cosmopolitan patriotism (drawing on Kant's ideas about patriotism and cosmopolitanism) in M. Nussbaum and J. Cohen, For Love of Country: Debating the Limits of Patriotism (Cambridge, MA: Beacon, 1996); Mark Green (Ed.), What We Stand For: A Program for Progressive Patriotism (New York: New Market, 2004); and Chapter 13 of this volume.
- Pew Research Center survey, "The 2004 Political Landscape: Evenly Divided and Increasingly Polarized," November 2003. Available at: people-press.org/dataarchive
- George Balch, Methods of Teaching Patriotism in Public Schools (1890), cited in Cecilia O'Leary, To Die For: The Paradox of American Patriotism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 175.
- Katherine D. Blake, "Peace in the Schools," National Education Association Proceedings (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1911), pp. 140-46, cited in Susan Zeiger, "The Schoolhouse vs. the Armory: U.S. Teachers and the Campaign Against Militarism in the Schools, 1914–1918," Journal of Women's History, Summer 2003, p. 150.
- Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality (New York: Basic Books, 1984), p. 310.
Michael J. Bader
Edwin C. Darden
Chester E. Finn, Jr.
Joan Kent Kvitka
James W. Loewen
Walter C. Parker
karen emily suurtamm
Joel Westheimer Biography
Joel Westheimer (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) is University Research Chair in Democracy and Education, professor of the social foundations of education, and co-director of Democratic Dialogue: Inquiry into Democracy, Education, and Society at the University of Ottawa. He is also John Glenn Scholar for Service Learning and Social Justice in Education at the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy. Westheimer teaches and writes on democracy, social justice, youth activism, and community service learning. He is the author of Among School Teachers (Teachers College Press) and is currently writing a book on the commercialization of higher education. Much of his work is available online at www.DemocraticDialogue.com. Westheimer is a former musician and teacher in the New York City public schools. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario where in Winter he ice-skates to and from work.