All Position Papers and Reports
To view this list by topic, please click below:
Community Education Family Public Health Security in a Post-9/11 World
License to Hide--This report grades the states on their success in preventing driver's licenses from being fradulently obtained. More than half of states received a "C" or lower, a growing crisis in a post-9/11 world. Read the press release for the report.
The State of Society--Has American society fundamentally changed since September 11?
"The State of Society: A Rush to Pre-9/11," argues that in many ways American society is "normalizing," or shaking off the effects of September 11,
and that some pre-September 11 trends remain in place over a year after the attack.
Organ Donation-A Communitarian Approach--Hospitals
are experiencing an extreme shortage of organs available for donation. The Communitarian
Network is campaigning to create a major shift in the moral culture of the country, leading
to a point at which donating one's organs will become something a good person simply does.
American Society in the Age of Terrorism--How has American society changed
since the terrorist attacks? This paper provides an extensive analysis of
data gathered on sociological changes in a post-September 11 American society.
Findings that the report addresses include they way Americans are more committed
to family, are more spiritual- but not more active in organized religion, remain
tolerant of people who are different- including Muslim Americans, and are expressing
higher levels of patriotism.
Rights and Responsibilities After 9/11--The threat of future
terrorist attacks have required the government to initiate new safety measures that some criticize
as encroaching on one's individual rights. Amitai Etzioni explores how new safety measures and spying
technologies actually further protect one's rights and privacy, and he analyzes surveys that suggest
that the higher the public's level of fear, the greater people's willingness to curtail liberty in
order to protect public safety.
Undergraduate Education and the
Development of Moral and Civic Responsibility--Undergraduate
years are an important time for developing students moral and civic
responsibility. This essay describes our work-in-progress, under the
auspices of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, to
analyze the American undergraduate scene in terms of efforts to promote
students' moral and civic responsibility and to encourage our colleges and
universities to strengthen those efforts.
Responsible Fathering: An
Overview, Conceptual Framework, And Recommendations for Policies and
Programs--For more than a century, American society has
engaged in a sometimes contentious debate about what it means to be a
responsible parent. Whereas most of the cultural debate about mothers has
focused on what, if anything, mothers should do outside the family, the
debate about fathers has focused on what fathers should do inside the
family. What role should fathers play in the everyday lives of their
children, beyond the traditional breadwinner role? How much should
they emulate the traditional nurturing activities of mothers, and how much
should they represent a masculine role model to their children? Is
fatherhood in a unique crisis in late twentieth century America?
Preventing Problem vs.
Promoting the Positive: What Do We Want for Our
Children?-- By Kristin A. Moore and Tamara G. Halle-
Moore and Halle discuss the need to define and measure indicators of
positive child well-being. They argue that it is essential to develop
valid and reliable indicators of positive attitudes, beliefs and outcomes
so that positive development does not continue to be construed as merely
the absence of negative behaviors and outcomes. They also summarize the
insights from practitioners working on youth development programs,
describe the available research on this topic, and suggest a number of
constructs which could be measured and tracked as indicators of positive
development. Such a system of measurement is needed if we want to monitor
children's adherence to parents' (and society's) positive expectations of
Family as Community: Implementing
the "Children First Principle"--Children are often an
afterthought in cases of divorce, however, Katherine Shaw Spaht of the
Louisiana State University Law Center makes a strong case that children
should be given much more consideration. In this expansion of Mary Ann
Glendon's Children First Principle, Spaht introduces the "Family As
Community Act," which calls for a new set of priorities in divorce
cases- and redefining marital property as family property.
Cohabitation: A Communitarian
Perspective--There are currently more than four million
heterosexual couples living together outside of wedlock in the U.S. In
recent decades this living arrangement has lost much of the stigma once
associated with it, and has grown quite popular. What does this trend
mean for society, the family, and the institution of marriage? Linda
Waite of the University of Chicago addresses the positive and negative
consequences of cohabitation from a communitarian viewpoint.
Restorative Justice, Earned
Redemption, and A Communitarian Response to Crime--
Restorative Justice is a three-dimensional collaborative process,
involving the victim of a crime, the community, and the offender. Gordon
Bazemore of Florida Atlantic University outlines this process, as well as
the systemic shift of the criminal justice system that will be necessary
to implement it. Bazemore explains that because crime results from a
breakdown in the social bonds between individuals and communities,
citizens and community groups must be involved in the response to crime.
The Monochrome Society (The Limits of
Diversity)--Demographers and social scientsits predict that
the white majority in the United States will no longer exist by the year
2050. This prediction has sparked a national debate over this change
with many celebrating the end of the white majority while others fear
the negative consequences. Amitai Etzioni claims that these views
miss the larger picture because they assume that people's racial
attributes determine their visions, values, and votes. Using several
findings, Etzioni shows that most Americans of all races and ethnic
groups embrace America's culture and core values. Current trends in
attitudes reflecting increases in the proportion of the non-white
population further support the thesis that while American society may
well change, whites and non-whites will largely change together.
From Public Relations
to Partnerships: A Changing Paradigm in School, Family, and Community
Relations--Howard Kirschenbaum analyzes the shift to a
collaborative model of education among schools, families, and communities
at large. Kirschenbaum makes specific policy recommendations to foster
parent and community involvement in developing and sustaining effective
A Comprehensive Approach to Removing
Marriage Penalties--C. Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute
has written a paper on the tax penalty on marriage. Steuerle examines
the "crazy quilt" of tax and expenditure policies that impact married
couples and families, the conditions that have led to a tax penalty
on marriage, and options for removing or reducing marriage penalties.
Community and the Corner Store--Alan
Ehrenhalt examines signifcant changes in commercial and cultural
life in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He explores the benefits of 1990s
economy, as well as the cultural sacrifices - "erosion of custom,
of predictability, of patterns of conduct that [are] known...as
community" - the new economic structure entails.
Twisted Tongues: The Failure
of Bilingual Education--Rosalie Pedalino Porter examines "The
Failures of Bilingual Education." The paper studies the ways in which the
30-year experiment in what is called bilingual education in American
schools has failed to provide a solid grounding in either English or
Spanish for the majority of students. Porter presents signigicant data
demonstrating the educational disservice of bilingual education as it is
conducted in most schools, and highlights the lack of accountability in
current bilingual education structures.
The Relationship of Religion
to Moral Education in the Public Schools--Charles Haynes and
Warren Nord describe the civic and educational principles that should
guide the instruction of religion in public schools. They sketch a
general theory of moral education that concieves a liberal education as a
moral education. Sex education and economics education serve as case
studies in examining the essential role of religion in moral education.
The authors offer a series of recommendations for reforming education in a
manner that takes seriously religion and moral education.
The Role of Civic Education--
Education for citizenship is essential to maintain a strong and healthy
constitutional democracy, but America has failed to achieve a high level
of civic education among its citizenry. Margaret Stimman Branson and
Charles Quigley discuss the need to improve civic education in the United
States, and examine the essential components of a good civic education, as
well as where and how civic education takes place. The authors make
specific policy recommendations for shoring up education for citizenship.
The Task of Religious Institutions in
Strengthening Families --Don Browning introduces the idea of a
"critical familism" for religious institutions, and reviews ways in which
religious institutions can support families and help prevent family
crises. Browning makes specific public policy reccomendations, many of
them novel, including suggestions for rearranging the work week for
Service Learning: A National
Strategy for Youth Development--Voluntary service learning
options for students that include regular, structured opportunities for
reflection provide demonstrable benefits, including engaging students
with their communities, developing an ethic of service, and enhancing
civic attitudes. Susan Andersen outlines components of, standards for,
and early best practices in service learning and makes policy
reccomendations for implementing meaningful service learning
Education for Interpersonal Relations, Family Life, and Intimacy--This paper examines a complex set of issues that deeply affect our entire society: the rise of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual exploitation, and the related moral, social, and psychological factors. Instructed by different religious and secular perspectives and by divergent political and social philosophical persuasions, drawn from academic and practical backgrounds, the focus of this examination is on what is commonly referred to as "sex education" in public schools. The paper's goal is to chart a morally sound course and design a moral framework for programs that are too often constructed in the absence of such concerns.
HIV Testing for Infants and Pregnant
Women: A Case Study in Privacy and Public Health--Many HIV
advocacy groups argue that newborn HIV test results, routinely used for
surveillance purposes, should not be disclosed to mothers or health care
workers on the grounds that such disclosure would violate mothers'
privacy. This report argues that, given the medical importance of early
diagnosis, all newborn test results must be shared with mothers and health
care personnel to facilitate timely and appropriate care.
Opportuning Virtue: Lessons of
the Louisiana Covenant Marriage Law--High divorce rates impact
negatively on children. As Louisiana establishes an option for stronger
marriage, other states are trying to shore up the family through more
coercive means. Communitarians discuss why marriage laws need reform, but
reform that maintains individual autonomy.
The Case for Domestic
Disarmament--Gun-related injury is the fourth leading cause of
death among children. What we need is domestic disarmament. How this may
be done is the subject of this position paper. Legal issues arising from
the Second Amendment are also covered. Prepared by staff.
A Communitarian Position Paper on the
Family--How can we enable parents to be parents, shore up
commitment to the family, and track down deadbeat fathers? This position
paper examines these issues and numerous other pro-family policies.
Prepared by William Galston, Mary Ann Glendon, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Enola
Aird, Amitai Etzioni, Martha Minow, and Alice Rossi.
Core Values in Health-Care Reform: A
Communitarian Approach--Unhealthful personal behavior has
costs that the whole community must bear. Communitarian health experts
argue that we have a moral obligation to temper our behavior in order to
stem health problems. Other proposals aim to ensure the culture of care in
spite of the preoccupation with costs and access. Prepared by Christine
Cassel, Charles Dougherty, Amitai Etzioni, C. McCollister Evarts, John
Griffith, James L. Nelson, Marian Osterweis, and Daniel Wikler.
The Rights and Responsibilities of Potential
Organ Donors--Thousands of patients needlessly suffer or die
because of a lack of donated organs. Communitarian ethicists argue that we
ought to adopt a policy that holds organ donation as a social duty
routinely expected of each of us. Prepared by James Lindemann Nelson.
The Community of Communities--
"We came in on different ships, but we now ride in the same
boat."--Endorsed by respected national leaders like Barbara Jordan,
Rudolfo Alvarez, James P. Comer, Clair Gaudiani, Jennifer Howse, Leonard
Kravitz, Sylvia Peters, and Dennis Wrong, this communitarian position
paper addresses the age-old American dilemma of diversity in a new
way--neither as a melting pot or a rainbow, but a mosaic where many
distinct elements combine to form a cohesive picture. Prepared by Amitai
Controlling Television: Parental
Filters--Current legislation mandates inclusion of the
"V-Chip" in all manufactured televisions, even though the technology
behind the V-Chip is excessively broad and obsolete. This report argues
that we must move away from heavy handed government intervention and allow
parents to monitor the content of what their children are exposed to on
television and on the Internet.
Schools as Moral Communities: Methods for Building Empathy and Self-Discipline--Developing core values such as respect, integrity, and responsibility in our children are the basic foundations of character education. However, while character education is something that is relatively simple to discuss, it is far more difficult to teach. Sheldon Berman and Diane Berreth address Amitai Etzioni's framework for character development, as well as the necessary skills and factors for implementing these goals into an educational setting.
Community Schools--This piece advocates the concept of community school, a new approach to educating children in a supportive and holistic manner. Carolyn Denham and Amitai Etzioni discuss benefits such as reduced juvenile crime rate, increased parental support, and deeper education that have been achieved through converting traditional schools to this system.
Building Character Through Sports--According to a recent study, 96% of kids who dropped out of school were not involved in co-curricular activities. In this piece, Russell Gough explores the notion that with the right balance and structure, organized sports can promote the development and well-being of our youth.
Role of Community in Character Education--Mary Brabeck explains the role of community schools in fostering strong relationships between the various components of the community and its educational system. By striving to include all community members, community schools help to foster moral and ethical development not only for the students themselves, but also for everyone involved in the initiative.
The Role of Family Involvement--As Roberta Doering discusses in this paper, the proverb "it takes a whole village to raise a child," holds equally true when educating a child. By developing strong bonds both within and between community institutions, families, and schools, communities are far more likely to foster a healthy and beneficial learning environment for their children to grow in.
Public Access: Hyde Park and Community Channel--Is public
access worth preserving? The question is particularly important for public
officials, many of whom will be deciding whether to maintain or establish
public access requirements as existing cable franchises come up for
renewal. The question is also important for community groups, because
public officials are less likely to require an operator to privide public
access unless community groups demand it. This paper is aimed primarily at
these individuals and groups. Secondarily, it is directed to public
officials who are debating whether public access should be protected.
Community Colleges: A Vital Resource for a Communitarian
Society--Community colleges are engines of economic development
and reconstruction; they train the local and regional and other labor
forces; they bring together a diverse groupe of people in an often
constructive environment; they symbolize some communities. This paper
examines the community roles of community colleges.
The Intergenerational Covenant: Rights and Responsibilities--Strong communities begin with raising strong and supportive families, but they do not end there. Basing their arguments on the basic Communitarian philosophy of balancing individual rights with responsibilities, Amitai Etzioni and Laura Brodbeck note that it is essential to recognize and honor the commitments of every society to its senior citizens. Rather than allowing communities to divide themselves along intergenerational fault lines, it is essential that citizens work together to ensure that a covenant of collective responsibilities is honored.
Housing On College Campuses: Self-Segregation, Integration, and other Alternatives--Maintaining the Communitarian approach that we do not need to chose between embracing diversity and suppressing it for the sake of unity, Michael Bocian explores the conflicts within and the benefits of various models for campus housing. Taking into account the two criteria used by most universities to assign roommate and housing for college students, this paper encourages universities to examine the effects of their present housing policies in order to better serve their communities.
Back to the Farm: Raising Livestock, Strengthening Family, and Building Community in Eastern Kentucky--By Suzanne Goldsmith. This case-study analyzes the economic struggles of farming families in isolated areas while recognizing the "proud and rugged individualism" that threatens the small farming area communities. Goldsmith describes the effects of The Small Farms Project, an effort to strengthen community bond, in which low income farmers "join for the animals, but often stay for the community."
The High-Rise Village; Public Housing Creates A Community in Harlem--Morningside Gardens is not your average governments housing project. This close knit Harlem community includes a strong public safety program, racial diversity, and grass roots decision making - attributes the community says could promote a healthy atmosphere in other public housing communities. Can the success of one housing project be replicated elsewhere? By Michael D'Antonio.
Neighbors as Peacemakers: San Francisco's Community Boards--David L. Kirp and Elliot Marseille examine the efficiency and benefit of volunteer based community mediation (in which neighbors help neighbors settle disputes without having to take the conflict to the formal legal system), while criticizing government-sponsored mediation that is directly linked to the courts and police. Asserting that citizens are more than capable of settling their own conflicts, Kirp and Marseille survey the genuine autonomy created by volunteer community mediation.
A New Song: Healing Racism and Building Community in Baltimore--Human relationships, asserts Michael D'Antonio, is where community rehabilitation projects begin and end. This case study looks at the roots and fruit of a project inspired by a national movement, known as Christian Community Development, to rebuild community and to bring about interracial healing.
The Takoma Orange Hats: Fighting Drugs and Building Community in Washington D.C.--For the Takoma Orange Hats, a neighborhood is more than yards and houses. That is precisely why this coalition of more than 200 neighbors patrol the streets, keeping a sharp eye out for drug dealers and prostitutes. Suzanne Goldsmith studies the success of this community's active approach to saving their neighborhood.
The Challenges of Voluntarism: The Family Matters Project in Houston--Has voluntarism ignored the potential of family volunteering? While most volunteering focuses on individuals, the Family Matters Project in Houston strives to bring together family units in an effort to help their communities while enhancing kin values. By Suzanne Goldsmith.