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The Center for Ethics and Education organizes conversations with philosophers, educators, and researchers about policy and practice. We support work that brings the tools and perspectives of contemporary moral and political philosophy to address concrete problems that arise in education practice and policy.

Some of these problems in education, like issues of fairness in the distribution of educational resources among different socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial groups are long-standing. Others, like the use of neurological data such as brain scans in diagnosing and “treating” students’ educational difficulties, are novel.

Bringing philosophy to education

Issues arise at different levels of decision-making. Districts, principals, and sometimes teachers decide how to structure instruction in inclusive classrooms, something that affects the daily work of individual teachers, citizens and voters. State and federal policymakers make decisions about whether states should support the growth of charter schools. Educational policy and practice provide rich material for philosophical reflection, and both policymakers and practitioners can benefit from the arguments and insights provided by the kind of scholarly work we support. 

We believe this work is difficult. It is best done when we can combine institutional and practical knowledge of educational policy-making and the daily work of teaching with the analytical skills and intellectual background afforded by moral and political philosophy.

Our central aim is to help scholars develop the relevant knowledge and skills, and bring the scholars, practitioners, and decision makers—who each have something to contribute to developing such work—into fruitful conversation with one another.

Using funding from a generous grant from the Spencer Foundation, since 2015 we have worked to expand the scope and quality of work in this important field.

For more information about our work, please see:

We also welcome engagement with school districts, policy makers, teachers, and others who may be interested. Please contact us if you have ideas about how we might be able to serve or collaborate with the wider education community.

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