Sociopolitical Development in Educational Systems: From Margins to Center

Document Type


Publication Date



This is a challenging moment for supporters of public education: the status quo is untenable but the options offered by “reformers” appear equally dangerous. In this context we need arguments for the democratic purposes of education that offer an alternative to existing inequities on one hand and technocratic or privatized solutions on the other. New formations of parents, teachers, and young people call for schools that raise young people who feel connected to their communities, can critically interpret their social and political worlds, and possess the academic skills and agency to empower their communities (Warren in Transforming public education: the need for an education justice movement. N Engl J Public Policy 26(1), Article 11.http://scholarworks.umb.edu/nejpp/vol26/iss1/11, 2015). This special issue, which originated in a series of interdisciplinary seminars, proposes sociopolitical development (SPD) as a core feature of democratic education and human development. Making SPD central to education requires a compelling mix of theory, rigorous evidence, and practical strategy. In this article we provide a scholarly context for SPD in education and introduce the contents of the special issue.