Public Events

Workshop on “Parenting and the Future of Work”

May 11-12th 2020
University of Warwick

Many parents struggle to cope with the simultaneous demands of parenting and of paid employment. The upshot is that vast numbers are left poor in terms of both disposable income and free time. Moreover, this can have deleterious effects on the many children who are subsequently deprived of the material and emotional resources necessary for a fair start in life.

We might expect three ongoing labour market trends to raise the costs of parenting even further. First, working practices are becoming more unpredictable, with shifts increasingly being decided at short notice and greater variation in working hours from week to week. Second, working practices are becoming more casual, such that fewer workers enjoy employments rights, including rights to parental leave and to sick pay. Third, there is a trend towards greater income inequality between high and low skilled workers, meaning that a range of educational goods and services, including professional childcare, will become increasingly unaffordable to low skilled parents.

Crucially, however, the cost of parenting does not need to be so high, nor must it inflate in the ways we have described. Instead, these facts are a product of political decision-making regarding labour markets and their regulation. Policymakers have at their disposal a range of measures that can lower the price of parenting by reducing the costs that parents and children must bear. These possibilities give rise to the following research question, around which this workshop will focus: How should policymakers respond to the threats and opportunities associated with current labour market trends so as to ensure that our workplaces of the future appropriately serve the interests of parents and children?

If you would like to attend this workshop, please register by email with Tom Parr ( by May 1st 2020.

The workshop is organised by Malte Jauch (University of Essex) and Tom Parr (University of Warwick), and it is funded by the Center for Ethics and Education. Confirmed participants include Jenny Brown (UCL), Anca Gheaus (Universidad Pompeu Fabra), Tim Fowler (Bristol), Alice Martin (New Economics Foundation), Linda McClain (Boston), Irena Rosenthal (Amsterdam), and Lucas Stanczyk (Harvard).

Debating Education: Is There a Role for Markets?


Harry Brighouse
Mildred Fish Harnack Professor of Philosophy, Affiliate Professor of Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
5:00-6:30 p.m.
Memorial Union—Check TITU
800 Langdon St.

The past 3 decades have seen a massive expansion in school choice and the use of markets in education. Programs such as parental choice programs, school vouchers, charter schools, and tax credits for private schools, were introduced to improve the education system. In their new book, philosophers David Schmidtz and Harry Brighouse present differing perspectives on the expansion of markets: Schmidtz arguing that it has been justified, Brighouse offering a more critical view. At this session Brighouse will introduce the book, explore how philosophical perspectives can inform our judgements about the evidence, and argue that while markets can sometimes serve our purposes, we should generally be skeptical that they will play a significant role in prompting improvement

Debating Education flyer PDF

The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility

Carl A. Grant Scholars Lecture Series


Jennifer Morton
Associate Professor of Philosophy, City College of New York and the Graduate Center—CUNY, Fellow with the Center for Ethics and Education

Monday, April 15, 2019
Noon-1:00 p.m.
Room 259 Educational Sciences
1025 W. Johnson Street

Using social science evidence, Morton uncovers how disadvantaged students and their communities are unjustly and disproportionately affected when these students achieve upward mobility. Broken ties with family and friends, severed community connections and loss of identity often result from complex economic, cultural and structural factors. Morton suggests educators empower students with an honest assessment of upward mobility that recognizes and acknowledges its ethical costs.

Co-sponsored by the Carl A. Grant Scholars Lecture Series and the Center for Ethics and Education.

The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility with Jennifer Morton

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America


Richard Rothstein
Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute
Senior Fellow (Emeritus), Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Thursday, October 18, 2018
4:30-6:00 p.m.
2120 Kellner Hall, Grainger Hall

Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and is a fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and of the Economic Policy Institute. He is also a former columnist for the New York Times. Rothstein’s lecture will focus on his recently published book, The Color of Law, in which he argues that dominant explanations for racial segregation which assume that de facto segregation—or informal practices, such as discriminatory lending practices—are flawed. Rather, Rothstein argues that de jure segregation in the form of explicit policies and laws are to blame for the segregation of African Americans from whites in American neighborhoods. Rothstein’s talk will be of interest to students and faculty interested in questions of race and ethnicity, inequality, and education.

Co-sponsored by The Center for Ethics and Education, The Department of Educational Policy Studies, The Department of Philosophy, and The Institute for Legal Studies with help from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

Funding provided by the University Lectures Knapp Fund.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America

The Future of Undergraduate Education


Michael McPherson, President Emeritus, Spencer Foundation
Karl Scholz, Dean, College of Letters and Sciences

Faculty Panel

Tim Dale, Political Science, UW-La Crosse
Fay Akindes, UW System
Emily Fletcher, Philosophy, UW-Madison
Lynn Glueck, Instructional Coach, MMSD

Student Panel

Christian Cuevas, Computer Science, UW-Madison
Lexi Argall, Political Science, UW-Madison
Kailey Mullane, Economics, Communication Arts, UW-Madison
Joe Venuta, Philosophy, UW-Madison

Thursday, May 31, 2018
11:30 a.m.-1:10 p.m.
Skyview Room, Fluno Center

How to improve our teaching? The first recommendation of The Future of Undergraduate Education, a report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is that we work to improve undergraduate instruction. But how? Join the Center for Ethics and Education, the College of Letters & Sciences, and the American Academy for the Arts and Sciences for lunch on May 31st, to discuss strategies for improving instruction. Panels will feature faculty from the UW-Madison and the UW system, and students from UW-Madison, offering practical ideas for improving instruction.

Co-sponsored by The American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the College of Letters & Science.

Related article by Harry Brighouse
What Students Say Is Good Teaching. Published in Inside Higher Ed. (2018)

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America


Richard Rothstein
Research Associate, Economic Policy Institute
Senior Fellow, Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley

Friday, May 4, 2018 4-5:30 p.m.
Wisconsin Idea Room, 159 Education Building

In this lecture, Richard Rothstein draws from his new book—a National Book Award finalist—exploring a history of how U.S. government policies have led to segregation.

Co-sponsored by The Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Ethics and Education.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America

Authority and Autonomy in Sex Education


Lisa Andersen, Juilliard
Kathleen Elliott, UW–Whitewater
Paula McAvoy, UW–Madison


Nancy Kendall, UW–Madison

Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 12:00–1:15 pm
Educational Sciences Room 259, West Johnson Street

During this interactive session, panelists will offer historical, contemporary, and philosophic perspectives on the central question: Should sex education be student-centered? Drawing upon examples of peer education, GSA clubs (original name: Gay-Straight Alliance), and teacher centered approaches, the panel will highlight tensions between adult authority over the curriculum and promoting the development of student autonomy.

Authority and Autonomy in Sex Education

Educational Goods: Values, Evidence, and Decision-Making


Susanna Loeb, Barnett Family Professor of Education, Stanford University
Harry Brighouse, Dickson Bascom Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 12:30-1:45 pm
Educational Sciences Room 253, 1025 West Johnson Street

We spend a lot of time arguing about how schools might be improved. But we rarely take a step back to ask what we as a society should be looking for from education—what exactly should those who make decisions be trying to achieve?

Susanna Loeb and Harry Brighouse will talk about their new book, written with Adam Swift and Helen Ladd, Educational Goods, which offers a way of combining rigorous thinking about values and careful consideration of evidence when making decisions about, and within, schools.

Educational Goods: Values, Evidence, and Decision-Making event

Rigor Versus Use: What Evidence Helps You Get the Educational Outcomes You Aim For?


Nancy Cartwright, UCSD, Durham University


Eric Grodsky, UW-Madison, Sociology and WCER
Karen Bogenschneider, UW-Madison, SOHE, Emerita

Thursday, February 1, 2018
3:00-4:30 pm, Wisconsin Idea Room, 159 Education Building

Consulting the evidence should surely help in making better predictions about educational outcomes. That’s the core idea that makes evidence–informed policy so appealing. But what kinds of evidence can most help? Current orthodoxy majors on rigor: We want evidence that is rigorously established; we do not want to build our policies on shaky grounds. On this basis, RCTs have become widely accepted as gold standard sources of evidence for effectiveness in education and elsewhere. But there is often a trade-off between how rigorously a result can be established and how useful it is for achieving our goals. Nancy Cartwright will discuss this trade-off in the case of educational policy, and child welfare more generally. She will explain what kind of knowledge can be produced by RCTs and how policymakers can, and often do, go wrong when they fail to understand exactly what it is that has been rigorously established with an RCT; and she will offer some suggestions about how evidence can be more wisely used to make policy decisions and what other kinds of evidence this might require. Eric Grodsky and Karen Bogenschneider will comment.

Rigor Versus Use event

Morality and Justice in Higher Education

A conversation with Harry Brighouse

April 10, 2017
12-1:00pm, 198 Education Building

Join WISCAPE for a conversation with with Harry Brighouse, professor of philosophy, about the award-winning book he co-edited, The Aims of Higher Education: Problems of Morality and Justice.

Topics of discussion will include whether a liberal arts education has social value; the aim of developing students into critical thinkers; and the ethical issues and pedagogical questions arising from recent criticisms, particularly from legislators, that faculty at highly selective universities are disproportionately liberal.

Event Flyer (PDF)

Morality and Justic in Higher Education

Inequality and the Public University

Thursday, October 20, 2016
4–5:15 pm, Wisconsin Idea Room, 141 Education Building

Laura Hamilton and Nancy Kendall will each draw upon their research and experiences to answer: How does inequality get reproduced within the university? What, if anything, can universities do to undo, or mitigate, these trends?

Join our public discussion, participate in small group conversations and exchange ideas with the featured speakers.


Laura T. Hamilton, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California-Merced
Author of Parenting to a Degree and co-author of Paying for the Party
Download Dr. Hamilton's comments

Nancy Kendall, Associate Professor Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Author of The Sex Education Debates and co-principal investigator of “Constructing Affordability: How Institutional and Relational Contexts Affect Retention of Undergraduates from Low-Income Families.”


Jennifer Morton, Assistant Professor Philosophy, City College of New York

Event Flyer (PDF)

Inequity and the Public University

The Ethics of Educating: Bridging the Ideal and Non-Ideal Divide

Jennifer Morton, Assistant Professor of Philosophy City College of New York

Thursday, April 9, 2015, 1–2:30 p.m.
Helen C. White Hall, Room 6191, 600 N. Park St.

Jennifer Morton is an assistant professor of philosophy at the City College of New York and will be a 2015-2016 Laurance S. Rockefeller Faculty Fellow at the Princeton Center for Human Values. Her areas of research are philosophy of action, moral philosophy, philosophy of education and political philosophy. She was born and grew up in Lima, Peru.

In her talk, Morton will argue that the educator, as a representative of the political community, is tasked with two aims—one more ideal than the other. The first is nurturing students with the skills and knowledge they need for the non-ideal world as they will find it. The second is educating future citizens for a more ideal future. She argues that these two aims lead educators to confront important dilemmas and suggests a possible resolution that is of interest not only to educators, but also to political theorists interested in the divide between ideal and non-ideal theory.

Jennifer Morton

Should Teachers Share Their Politics with Students?

Monday, March 23, 2015, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, DeLuca Forum
330 North Orchard Street, Madison, WI

5:30–6 p.m. Welcome Reception
6–7:30 p.m. Presentation, Discussion and Case Study

"When (if ever) should teachers share their political views with their students?"

The Center for Ethics and Education, a new project of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research within the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education, invites you to a discussion focused on the ethical dilemmas teachers confront when introducing controversial and political issues to their students.


Diana Hess, professor of curriculum and instruction, UW-Madison School of Education; and Paula McAvoy, program director Center for Ethics and Education, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, co-authors, The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education

Tony Laden, co-principal investigator Center for Ethics and Education, professor of philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Katie Jones, teacher, Malcolm Shabazz City High School


Harry Brighouse, co-principal invesigator Center for Ethics and Education, professor of philosophy and educational policy studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Political Classroom