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Humanizing Education Policy 2022

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July 5, 2022
July 30, 2022

Pepperdine University – DC Campus

Co-sponsored with:

Pepperdine School of Public Policy

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Professor Margarita Mooney Clayton is Executive Director of Scala Foundation. She is currently a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her research and teaching cover topics relating to philosophy of social science, sociological research methods, and human flourishing.

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Event Overview

Humanizing Education Policy: A Study of Foundational Philosophies and Practices

Course Description

Like few other areas of public policy, the COVID crisis has placed a focused lens on America’s K-12 school systems. Americans have long cared about preserving a tradition of liberal arts education, seeing it as key to a free society of citizens with both the knowledge and virtue to sustain self-governance and to advance social order and prosperity. This graduate introduction to the philosophical debates that have shaped the goals and practices of American educational policies, curricula, and institutions will ask scholars to identify challenges and opportunities for revitalizing American educational systems and culture.

In a class that combines the philosophical with the latest public policy debates, Dr. Margarita Mooney Suarez and John Bailey will explore foundational concepts and their impact on current events. Using the works of philosophers Augusto del Noce, Paolo Freire, John Dewey, and Jacques Maritain, and theologians John Cardinal Henry Newman, Jean Leclerq, and Luigi Giussani, this class will explore a variety of competing debates in philosophy of education, connecting these theories of human nature and the roles of society and government to educational curricula and policy. Students will be asked to question the role education policy, curricula, and institutions play in shaping culture and politics and promoting human progress in a diverse society founded on freedoms of religion, conscience, speech, and association.

Concepts covered

  • The philosophical underpinnings of today’s education system
  • Philosophical anthropology in modernity
  • How differing views of human nature affect the way we teach
  • Current debates on roles of the public and government institutions
  • How do funding policies impact education policy
  • Pragmatist, Marxist, classical liberal and religious approaches to education


  • Dr. Margarita A. Mooney Suarez, Associate Professor, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • John Bailey, Partner, Vestigo Partners and Visiting Fellow, AEI

Course and Credit Information

Who is Eligible?

Application is open to rising undergrad juniors and seniors, plus recent college grads who are considering graduate school.


Only 20 qualified scholars will be selected for each session. All selected scholars will be awarded full-tuition scholars for this 3-credit class. Scholars will not receive any additional financial aid or support for their participation in the program. Pepperdine University nor the School of Public Policy are responsible for funding/finding/providing housing while scholars attend the program, funding/providing/arranging transportation to and from Washington, DC, nor any other expenses related to enrollment in the program.