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Educational Pluralism and the Problem of Culture -- Ashley Berner, PhD

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Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Great Hall (2nd Floor)

2800 N. Charles St.

Baltimore, MD 21218

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Educational Pluralism and the Problem of Culture

Debates about the structure of schooling in the United States often occur between two poles. On the one hand, we have the libertarian impulse, which valorizes free markets, competition, and parental choice; on the other, we find a visceral defense of the district school. Most democracies operate with pluralistic systems, in which the government funds and regulates but does not necessarily operate schools. Educational pluralism therefore attempts to chart a middle course between individual choice and the common good - and an increasing number of states and districts are moving in this direction.

But the shape of education is culturally contingent. Indeed, the way we talk, debate, research, and even imagine "public education" rests upon assumptions of which we may not even be aware. What is culture, and why does it matter for education policy? ​


About the Speaker

Ashley Berner is Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and Assistant Professor of Education. She served previously as the Deputy Director of the CUNY Institute for Education Policy and the Director of the Education Program at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, UVa. Dr. Berner has published articles and book chapters on the relationship between educational structure and state funding in democratic nations, religious education and citizenship formation, and teacher preparation in different national contexts. Palgrave MacMillan published Pluralism and American Public Education: No One Way to School (2017). She consults regularly on projects that examine the academic and civic outcomes of different school sectors. Her teaching experience took place in a Jewish pre-school, an Episcopal secondary school, and an open university in Louisiana. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University Law School. She holds degrees from Davidson College (Honors A.B.) and from Oxford University (M.Litt. and D.Phil. in Modern History).

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Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Great Hall (2nd Floor)

2800 N. Charles St.

Baltimore, MD 21218

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