Dean Salzman’s early support for the Journal of Educational Controversy in its infancy could only be based on the faith of an idea and a vision that existed merely in the mind of this editor. As she leaves the college this month, Dean Salzman will leave a legacy of a journal that has grown phenomenally in the last five years. Her support was both an act of visionary leadership and an act of courage for a journal that was about to set out to disclose and analyze the controversies that arise among the many stakeholders who influence the direction of education.
As the journal reaches its fifth anniversary in February of 2011, I am reminded of the importance of such leadership in a university as well as the collective support of its faculty. When I was the director of the college’s Center for Educational Pluralism between 2003-2007, I asked the faculty in one of our newsletters for its views about exploring the controversies in educating for a pluralistic, democratic society. I had for sometime been concerned about the contradictions between the idealistic rhetoric used in educational discourse and the reality of our actions, our institutions and our society. To effectively approach the realities of our educational systems, I believed the nation had to have a serious and in-depth conversation about the tensions, perplexities and dilemmas that arise in education and boldly face its many contradictions. It would take us into a discussion of the “undiscussables” in our nation’s conversation with itself . For a democracy constitutes itself in the very discussion it is having.
As we expressed it in our mission for the journal:
Because many of the tensions in public school and university policies and practices are deeply rooted in the tensions inherent in the philosophy of a liberal democratic state, many of the value conflicts in public schools and universities can only be understood within the context of this larger public philosophy. In effect, the conflicting assumptions underlying our public philosophy frame our questions, define our problems and construct the solutions that shape our practices, policies, and research agendas. This journal will try to help clarify that public debate and deepen an understanding of its moral significance.
I believe that Colleges of Education have a twofold mission. One is to prepare the next generation of teachers and other educational professionals but a second is to elevate the conversation about education among its citizens. Indeed, the purpose of this blog is to bring our journal’s authors into conversation with other educational professionals and the general public in a national and global format.
Both the faculty and our administration agreed and have been the support behind this journal. Our wishes go with you Dean Salzman as you embark on the next stage of your life and thank you for believing in this project when it was only a vision.