Aaron Schutz

Professor; Director
Educational Policy & Community Studies; Urban Education Doctoral Program

Aaron Schutz is a Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies. His research agenda focuses on community engagement for social change in urban communities as well as on theories of democracy and democratic education.

Schutz has worked with local community engagement groups in Milwaukee for more than a decade in a range of different roles. He helped spearhead an effort that resulted in funding for school nurses in all MPS schools that did not have one, and directed a two year project exploring how to engage students in an inner-city high school in social action projects.

In the area of community engagement, he has completed two books, including a forthcoming edited volume of classic texts in the Alinsky organizing tradition. He is currently conducting research on a series of case studies of “neighborhood organizing” efforts around the United States, documenting the different ways organizers have approached the challenge of building power in different contexts.

In the arena of philosophy of education, his 2010 book, listed below, traces the emergence of progressive visions of democratic education in America over the 20th century. More broadly, his theoretical writings focus on the limits and possibilities of different conceptions of empowerment and agency, as well as relationships between different models of democratic practice and social class. His writings include examinations of postmodernism, American pragmatism (especially John Dewey), and the writings of the political philosopher Hannah Arendt. He is currently working on a book about Hannah Arendt and democratic education.

Among other courses, he teaches Modern Philosophies of Education, Social Action in Urban Communities, and Community Education.

Many of Schutz’s writings can be found on his website, Education Action.

Selected Publications

Schutz, A., and Butin, D. (2013). Beyond dependency: Strategies for saving foundations. Critical Questions in Education, 4(2), 60-71.

Schutz, A. (2011). Power and trust in the public realm: John Dewey, Saul Alinsky, and the limits of progressive democratic education. Educational Theory, 61(4), 491-512.

Fehrman, D. and Schutz, A. (2011). Beyond the catch-22 of school-based social action programs: Toward a more pragmatic approach for dealing with power. Democracy & Education, 19(1), Article 3. Available at: http://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol19/iss1/3/.

Schutz, A. & Sandy, M. (2011). Collective action for social change: An introduction to community organizing. New York: Palgrave, Macmillan.

Schutz, A. (2010). Social class, social action, and education: The failures of progressive democracy. New York: Palgrave, Macmillan.

Schutz, A., & Miller, M., eds. (forthcoming). People power: Classic texts in the Alinsky organizing tradition.  Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

Schutz, A. (2008). Social class and social action: The middle-class bias of democratic theory in education. Teachers College Record, 110(2), 405-448.

Schutz, A. (2007). Education scholars have much to learn about social action: An essay review of Learning Power. Education Review Online, 10(3). Available online.

Schutz, A. (2006). Home is a prison in the global city: The tragic failure of school-based community engagement strategies. Review of Educational Research, 76(4), 691-743.

Schutz, A. (2004). Rethinking domination and resistance: Challenging postmodernism. Educational Researcher, 33(1), 15-23.

 Aaron Schutz Curriculum Vitae (PDF)