Who is John Goodlad?

The Alpine School District (ASD) Board is embracing The Agenda for Education in a Democracy by John Goodlad, a self-proclaimed socialist/atheist/humanist.

Just who is John Goodlad and what does he teach about education that so many parents are upset about?

Current Professor, College of Education at the University of Washington.

University of Chicago Earned a Ph.D. and was on the faculty

Prolific Author

Published over 30 books, 80 book chapters, and more than 200 journal articles about education reform.

Recognized as a leader of educational reform

Goodlad’s best known book, A Place Called School (1984), received the Outstanding Book of the Year Award from the American Educational Research Association and the Distinguished Book of the Year Award. He is a past president of the American Educational Research Association and, in 1993, received that organization’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Research.

Follower of John Dewey (Socialist)

In Praise of Education (John Dewey Lecture Series)

Earned John Dewey Society Outstanding Achievement Award (2009)


Author of Toward a

Mankind School:

An Adventure in Humanistic Education

“The curriculum of the future ‘will be what one might call the humanistic curriculum.’” (John Goodlad, NEA Journal 1966)

Moral Relativism

Wrote The Moral Dimensions of Teaching with Roger Soder and Kenneth Sirotnik

“Educators must resist the quest for certainty. If there were certainty there would be no scientific advancement.  So it is with morals and patriotism.” (Education for Everyone, p. 6.)

Proponent of Social Justice

“It is my expectation that Teacher Education for Democracy and Social Justice will become a rich resource for continuing this multi-layered conversation-from democratic belief to democratic action-that is the hallmark of educational renewal.” (Goodlad’s forward to Teacher Education for Democracy and Social Justice, Nicholas Michelli and David Lee Keiser)

Child Belongs to the State

Goodlad wrote, “A century has passed since the prescient educational historian Ellwood Cubberley wrote the epigraph with which this writing began: “Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”

“My only disagreement with his observation pertains to the implication of our owning children. We parents do not own our children; we just rent them for a while. Given the extent to which what he was troubled about has expanded, however, his reference to state ownership may well be appropriate.”

(2010, Washington Post, Goodlad on school reform: Are we ignoring lessons of last 50 years?

Role of Parents

“Parents do not own their children. They have no ‘natural right’ to control their education fully.” (Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pp. 164.)

“Most youth still hold the same values of their parents…if we do not alter this pattern, if we don’t resocialize, our system will decay.” (Education Innovation, Issue 9.)


Author of Education and the Making of a Democratic People (with Roger Soder and Bonnie McDaniel)

Goodlad says we will not have the schools we need, “until community leaders, educators and policymakers agree on the democratic purpose of public schooling and work together toward its advancement.”

Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy (Developing Democratic Character in the Young)

Agenda for Education in a Democracy (AED)-Teacher training to advance democracy training, National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER)

Education and Politics

“Schooling is a practical, political affair”. (Developing Democratic Character in the Young)

“The state we should strive for is better described in Deweyan terms as a social democracy.” (John Goodlad, 2001: Developing Democratic Character in the Young)

Reason for Public Education

“Schooling is a practical, political affair.” (Developing Democratic Character in the Young)

“It was clear a year later that health care and schooling were high on President Obama’s action agenda. The nation’s cultural readiness for a long-overdue great turning—might come to pass.

“Clearly, there must be a great turning in schooling. The new will not evolve out of what we have now or try to fix. It is not broken. Indeed, it is very stable and solid, guided by ideologies that will not be disturbed, no matter what the evidence to their contrary.

“What we must do now nationwide is begin the 20-or-more-year process of creating a new tomorrow.

“Education is the great equalizer. Unfortunately, in policy, family, community, the marketplace, institutions, and more, it turns out not to be.”

(2010 Washington Post article by Goodlad)

“A standardized curriculum of basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic cannot prepare people to participate in a democracy.”

Enlightened social engineering is required to face situations that demand global action now.”

(John Goodlad, Preface to J.M. Becker: Schooling for a Global Age)