April 26, 2019

Meira Levinson and Jacob Fay

Harvard Book Store and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics welcome education professors MEIRA LEVINSON and JACOB FAY for a discussion of their new book, Democratic Discord in Schools: Cases and Commentaries in Educational Ethics.


Teaching in a democracy is challenging and filled with dilemmas that have no easy answers. For example, how do educators meet their responsibilities of teaching civic norms and dispositions while remaining nonpartisan? Democratic Discord in Schools features eight normative cases of complex dilemmas drawn from real events designed to help educators practice the type of collaborative problem solving and civil discourse needed to meet these challenges of democratic education. Each of the cases also features a set of six commentaries written by a diverse array of scholars, educators, policy makers, students, and activists with a range of political views to spark reflection and conversation.

Drawing on research and methods developed in the Justice in Schools project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Democratic Discord in Schools provides the tools that allow educators and others to practice the deliberative skills they need in order to find reasonable solutions to common ethical dilemmas in politically fraught times.

About Author(s)

Jacob Fay is a visiting assistant professor of education at Bowdoin College. His research synthesizes philosophical theories of injustice with insights from developmental psychology to propose a novel approach to theorizing about injustice. He is co-editor with Meira Levinson of Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries (2016).  As a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education he was a member of the 2013-2014 Spencer Foundation Philosophy of Education Institute, a 2016-2017 Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Graduate Fellow, and a 2017-2018 Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Pedagogy Fellow.

Meira Levinson is a Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, following eight years as a middle school teacher in the Atlanta and Boston Public Schools. She has published numerous articles and six books, including No Citizen Left Behind, Making Civics Count, and Dilemmas of Educational Ethics. A national leader in civic education, Levinson has served on advisory boards of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, CIRCLE/Tisch College, Generation Citizen, and the National Action Civics Collaborative, and was a writer for the College, Career, and CivicLife (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards.