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Civics Beyond CriticsCharacter Education in a Liberal Democracy$
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Ian MacMullen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733614.001.0001

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Status quo educational bias: its nature and sources

Status quo educational bias: its nature and sources

(p.180) (p.181) Chapter 6 Status quo educational bias: its nature and sources
Civics Beyond Critics

Ian MacMullen

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces and analyzes the concept of status quo biased civic education, which is defined as education whose expected effect is to encourage a recipient’s belief in the substantive merits of existing laws or political institutions, where that effect does not derive solely from an improvement in the recipient’s ability and/or an increase in her inclination to engage in autonomous assessment of the best arguments and evidence for and against those laws or institutions. The chapter identifies the various forms and sources of status quo educational bias, distinguishes it from other educational phenomena with which it is liable to be confused, and investigates the costs and feasibility of reducing or even eliminating it. The conclusion is that civic education will realistically always exhibit some status quo biases but that the range and degree of those biases are very largely under the control of citizens, individually and collectively.

Keywords:   status quo bias, civic education, autonomy, critical thinking, trust

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