UW-Madison's Hess, McAvoy receive Grawemeyer Award in Education

Hess, McAvoy receive Grawemeyer Award in Education

UW–Madison’s Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy were recognized in April as co-winners of the 2017 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education, a prestigious honor that includes a $100,000 prize.

Diana Hess and Paula McAvoyThe Grawemeyer Awards program pays tribute to the power of creative ideas, emphasizing the impact a single idea can have on the world.

Hess and McAvoy were recognized for their efforts to explore the role of teachers in perpetuating serious, thoughtful political deliberation in schools during these politically charged times. The two co-authored the award-winning 2014 book, “The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education.”

Hess and McAvoy explain that teachers in the classroom should encourage conversations about difficult issues — whether it’s immigration, gun control, abortion, gay rights, religion or any other hot-button topic. Such discourse, they argue, is at the heart of a democratic education and these discussions help students understand diverse points of view and become more politically engaged adults.

“This honor means so much to us — in large part because it reinforces the important role that research plays in building ideas that can influence how schools take up the important role of civic education,” says Hess, who is dean of the School of Education and holds the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education at UW–Madison.

McAvoy is program director of the Center for Ethics and Education, and an alumna of the School of Education.

While visiting Louisville, Hess and McAvoy presented free lectures about their award-winning ideas, discussed controversial political issues with students during a visit to Central High School, and took part in an Awards Dinner on April 20.

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