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ERIC Number: EJ956827
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0091-732X
When the Majority Rules: Ballot Initiatives, Race-Conscious Education Policy, and the Public Good
Moses, Michele S.; Saenz, Lauren P.
Review of Research in Education, v36 n1 p113-138 Mar 2012
This chapter examines the following central question: How do direct democratic ballot initiatives affect the public good? A second, related question is this: When voters collectively make policy decisions, what responsibilities do researchers have to contribute to informing public deliberation about the relevant issues? In an attempt to answer these questions, the authors investigate how the direct democratic ballot initiative process, increasingly--and controversially--used to allow citizens to make education policy decisions, may serve to enhance or constrain the public good. The education policies affected by ballot initiatives, such as affirmative action and bilingual education, often concern issues of race, civil rights, and equality of educational opportunity. This analysis relies on political philosophy through the lens of deliberative democratic theory, relying in particular on the work of Amy Gutmann and Iris Marion Young. The more theoretical analyses are grounded in data from a recent empirical study on whether deliberative community dialogues on race-conscious policy issues serve to inform the dialogue participants. The aims of this chapter are to provide greater understanding of the education-policy-by-ballot-initiative phenomenon, bring to light the possibilities of "tyranny of the majority" when policies having to do with civil rights are left up to popular vote, and make the case that researchers ought to use their expertise in the service of public information and deliberation and, ultimately, the public good. (Contains 7 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States