This text-reader brings together powerful readings that critically situate issues of education in the context of the major cultural, moral, political, economic, ecological, and spiritual crises that confront us as a nation and a global community. It provides a focus and a conceptual framework for thinking about education in light of these issues. Readers are exposed to the thinking of some of the best and most insightful social and educational commentators. Critical Social Issues in American Education: Democracy and Meaning in a Globalizing World, Third Edition, is intended to work on two levels. First, it helps readers to develop an awareness of how education is connected to the wider social structures of cultural, political, and economic life. Second, it encourages not only a critical examination of our present social reality but also a serious discussion of alternatives--of what a transformed society and educational process might look like. The editors' goal is to deliberately engage readers in connecting the work of teachers to an ethically committed, politically charged pedagogy. The assumption on which they base the text is that educators must see their work as inextricably linked to the broader conflicts, stresses, and crises of the social world--it is not otherwise possible to make sense of what is happening educationally. What happens in school, or as part of the educational experience, reflects, expresses, and mediates profound questions about the direction and nature of the society we inhabit. The text is organized thematically into five sections, which address, respectively, social justice and democracy; consumerism, culture, and public education; marginality and difference; moral and spiritual perspectives on education; and globalization and education. Each section is preceded by a brief essay that introduces the readings. This Third Edition includes many new readings and addresses issues that have more recently emerged as especially significant--such as concerns about the implications of globalization and the post 9/11 world, commercialism, violence, and the ever-increasing influence of high stakes testing. This compelling text is relevant for a wide range of courses in educational foundations, educational policy, curriculum studies, and multicultural education that address the social context of education, cultural and political change, and public policy.