Schools engage students in controversies all the time and are embedded themselves in controversies. Most of these controversies engage us in disagreements on a surface level. That is not to say that these discussions are unimportant – only that they take place with assumptions that remain unstated and beliefs that remain largely hidden or submerged. And so we talk about learning outcomes, required competencies, and the kind of rubrics we should be using to assess student outcomes. The journal tries to go deeper by examining the very frameworks in which all these surface controversies arose – to get at our underlying assumptions and beliefs.
Here is our statement from the journal's introductory page:
The purpose of this peer reviewed journal is to provide a national and international forum for examining the dilemmas and controversies that arise in teaching and learning in a pluralistic, democratic society. 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.We are announcing this issue early to give time for authors to think about a controversy they would like to write about. We will send out official notices later.