Jen: Connecting Apple’s and Girioux’s Views on Democracy
Both Girioux and Apple argue that schools need to take more action in examining social inequalities in their curriculum. For example, Apple argues that in discussions of the September 11th attacks this central question needs to be examined: “How could one condemn the murderous events, give one’s students a historical and political framework that puts these events in their larger critical context, and provide a serious forum where disagreement and debate could go on fruitfully…and at the same time not be seen as justifying the attacks” (Apple, p. 493). He promotes that Americans need to critically examine their society and what past policies put these events into context. Apple views true democracy as critically examining one’s country’s actions and states that “democracy that welcomes dissent as itself is a form of patriotic commitment” (Apple, p. 497).
Like Apple’s view on democracy, Girioux also sees true democracy as questioning the status quo and that schools should be a part of this. Girioux wants teacher education colleges to focus more on “the critical study of power, language, history, and culture” (Girioux, p. 448). Girioux sees “schooling as part of an ongoing struggle for democracy” (Girioux, p. 440) and believes that schools should help students become better citizens, address social inequalities, and exam how schools help to reproduce them (Girious, p. 446).
I find it interesting the way both authors view democracy. Often, democracy is seen in the United States as agreeing with whatever your government decides to show your patriotism. I find it refreshing to read two articles in which patriotism is not defined as a blind following to a country’s leadership but that real patriotism is being a good citizen and being critical of your country’s decisions. Often, Girioux’s and Apple’s view on patriotism is seen as lacking in loyalty. However, how could critically examining the choices around you and advocating for the choice you believe is most equitable be unpatriotic? The United States’ Constitution is founded in amendments that frame the different ways people can protest to create change and lay a blue print for a process for change and amendments to the Constitution to occur. So how can following the processes that are laid out in our constitution be seen as unpatriotic? I have many family members in the Marine Corps or the Army. I support them and feel that since their job is to follow orders and they do not have the ability to weigh in on the decisions that they are forced to carry out, it is our job to take a critical look at country’s decisions since they cannot.