Publications

    Fay, J., Submitted. Injustice and School Closure.Abstract
    School closure is a recent, hotly contested instantiation of school reform. Public disputes about school closure also reflect fundamental disagreement about the nature of justice. I draw on Nancy Fraser’s notion of “abnormal justice”—in short, the sense that modern justice discourse lacks a common grammar—to clarify the content of closure disputes in three ways. First, I explain why and how opposing claims about school closure rest on very different notions of what justice is and what justice requires. Second, I describe the normative force of such claims through three distinct forms of injustice: maldistribution, misrecognition, and misrepresentation. Third, I argue that notion of abnormal justice shifts our theoretical imagination to the identification and analysis of the relationships among the different forms of injustice implicated in instances of school closure.
    Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries
    Levinson, M. & Fay, J., 2016. Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries, Harvard Educational Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

    Educators and policy makers confront challenging questions of ethics, justice, and equity on a regular basis. Should teachers retain a struggling student if it means she will most certainly drop out? Should an assignment plan favor middle-class families if it means strengthening the school system for all? These everyday dilemmas are both utterly ordinary and immensely challenging, yet there are few opportunities and resources to help educators think through the ethical issues at stake.

    Drawing on research and methods developed in the Justice in Schools project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Dilemmas of Educational Ethics introduces a new interdisciplinary approach to achieving practical wisdom in education, one that honors the complexities inherent in educational decision making and encourages open discussion of the values and principles we should collectively be trying to realize in educational policy and practice.

    At the heart of the book are six richly described, realistic accounts of ethical dilemmas that have arisen in education in recent years, paired with responses written by noted philosophers, empirical researchers, policy makers, and practitioners, including Pedro Noguera, Howard Gardner, Mary Pattillo, Andres A. Alonso, Jaime Ahlberg, Toby N. Romer, and Michael J. Petrilli.

    Fay, J., 2014. The Moral Foundations of Objections to School Closure. Philosophy of Education Yearbook. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    In this essay, Jacob Fay explores three potential moral claims underpinning popular objections to school closure: parental rights, existing value, and schools as democratic institutions. He argues that while each may reflect a compelling value, neither parental rights nor existing value sufficiently support an objection to closure. On the other hand, he proposes an account of schools as democratic institutions that emphasizes the importance of a distinction between education for democracy and education within democracy. The former refers to the knowledge and skills schools must develop in children so that children are prepared to live in a democracy; the latter acknowledges that schools are subject to democratic control. This account of schools as democratic institutions offers an important set of considerations that entail a clear but contingent limitation to the use of closure as school reform policy.