Dear Dean Rider and Department Heads McCallum and Bell

Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon
2013 Journal of Thought  
Journal of Thought, Spring 2013 I write this letter not just as the only philosopher of education left on the University of Tennessee's (UT) Knoxville campus, the research one level university for the state of Tennessee; I am now the only tenure track faculty member in any of the social foundations of education left on our campus. As you go through the difficult decisions of what lines to support for faculty searches and which ones to redirect, I hope you will appreciate the need for me to try
more » ... need for me to try to make a case in support of educational foundations (history, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy of education). I cannot make a case in terms of productivity or demand that cannot be out-matched by other fields of study in our college or across our campus, but I can make a case on moral and political grounds. A nation that does not have citizens who are knowledgeable about their past, understand their cultural roots, are able to analyze their social institutions, and able to make an argument for what should be on the grounds of justice, care, beauty, truth, and goodness is a nation that cannot hope to be a democracy someday. My work includes making the case that democracy is an ideal we are striving toward, it is not something we have achieved; it is something we must continually struggle for, someday. 1 Our k-12 teachers teach the next generation of America's society, the future citizens of our country. Their job includes passing on to our next generation the cultural wealth of the current and past generations. When schoolteachers lack the knowledge and wisdom they might gain from courses in educational foundations, how can we expect them to be able to withstand the daily pressures they experience as teachers and
doi:10.2307/jthought.48.1.6 fatcat:2oqx7ct4lbba5mqkfrsatlfumq