Dr. Paula McAvoy is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. She was previously the Director of the Center for Ethics and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has published multiple peer-reviewed articles and co-authored a book, The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education, with Dr. Diana Hess. More information on that book can be found here. She also taught high school social studies in Los Altos California for 10 years. Her research focuses on philosophical and empirical questions concerning the relationship between schools and democratic society. During our conversation, we discuss the theory that informs her view that schools should be political institutions, and that classrooms should be the site of rich deliberative discussions about controversial political issues. This research is topical considering the elevated levels of political polarization in American society. This conversation and the synthesis of her 2013 article in the January 2021 edition of the Spanning Boundaries Teacher Newsletter should provide educators with a set of strategies to begin having political conversations in their classrooms.
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