University of Ottawa researcher and education columnist for CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning, Dr. Joel Westheimer, talks about his new book, What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good, on Our Ottawa this week.

Westheimer said the goals of K-12 education have shifted away from creating active and engaged citizens in favour of more narrow goals of career preparation and individual economic gain.

"Public schools have always been and should be about preparation for life and for a career but also about talking about our society and preparing kids to take part in that society," he told host Adrian Harewood.

"There are certain values that a democratic society requires, for example, values of tolerance and diversity. ... You need to teach the value of dissent. The engine of progress in a democratic society is that we disagree with one another. There isn't one true version of gospel that comes from on high."

Joel Westheimer Adrian Harewood Our Ottawa

Joel Westheimer (left) and Our Ottawa host Adrian Harewood (right) in the CBC Ottawa studio. (CBC)

Westheimer and a colleague toured schools across North America to study how schools teach "good citizenship." He found three main visions: the "personally responsible citizen," the "participatory citizen" and the "social justice oriented citizen."

Watch the full interview in the video above.

Also on Our Ottawa

  • Miguel De Armas: Cuban born-pianist takes part in Afro-Cuban Celebration at Shenkman Arts Centre 
  • Opera Lyra: The launch of the Barber of Seville.
  • Sights and sounds: Canada Army Run, Sens Fan Fest, 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain on Parliament Hill.
  • CBC rewind: A look back at baseball legend Yogi Berra's career.
  • Social media: Digital producer Jen Beard highlights the top stories and videos online.

Watch Our Ottawa on CBC on Saturday at 12 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and Monday at 11 a.m. (all times local).

You can contact Our Ottawa on Facebook or Twitter, or send us an email.