Kathleen Knight Abowitz

Kathleen Knight AbowitzProfessor

McGuffey 306D

Ph.D., The University of Virginia
M.Ed., University of Vermont
B.A., Randolph-Macon College

Curriculum Vitae


Kathleen Knight Abowitz (Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1996) is a scholar of democracy, citizenship, and community in K-16 educational environments. Her publications span several themes within these interests. The first explores political theories relevant for public educational governance; the second theme explores conceptions of citizenship that have shaped citizenship education particularly in U.S. schools; the third theme explores questions of school choice, privatization, and the public purposes of education in light of these policy trends of the last several decades. She is past president of the John Dewey Society and the Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. She is a member of the Scholar Strategy Network (SSN), interested in ways that research can make an impact in public realms. Kathleen was elected to her Ohio district’s School Board in 2019, and is an active member of the League of Women Voters. She co-founded the Ohio Public School Advocacy Network in 2017.


Professional Appointments

Professor, Miami University of Ohio, Department of Educational Leadership. 2009-present.

  • Associate Professor, 2001-2009
  • Assistant Professor, 1995-2001
  • Coordinator, Socio-Cultural Foundations of Education course (EDL 204), 1995-2009
  • Director of Graduate Studies, 2011-2013
  • Director of Undergraduate Programs, 2020-present

Department Chair, Miami University of Ohio, Department of Educational Leadership, 2013-2018.

Interim Director, 2008-2009
Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Visiting Professor, Spring 2004
Miami University John E. Dolibois European Campus, Differdange, Luxembourg.

Staff Associate and Instructor, 1992-1995
Graduate Program in Social Foundations of Education. 
University of Virginia, NOVA.

Graduate Academic Advisor, 1994-1995.  
Department of Residence Life,
University of Virginia.

Assistant Dean of Student Activities and Director of Community Services, 1990-1992. 
Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, Virginia.  


University of Virginia
Doctor of Philosophy, Spring 1996.
Social Foundations of Education/Philosophy of Education.

University of Vermont
Master’s in Education, Spring 1989.
Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration.

Randolph-Macon College,
Bachelor of Arts, Spring 1986.
Business and Economics.

Research & Scholarship

Articles in Refereed Journals (selected)

Kathleen Knight-Abowitz & Sarah Stitzlein (2020). Rhetoric and the purposes of public education: Building discourse for shared responsibility, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Educationhttps://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2020.1850424 

Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Dan Mamlok, “#NeverAgainMSD Student Activism: Lessons for agonist political education in an age of democratic crisis,” Educational Theory (in press).

Kip Kline and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “Walker Percy's The Movigoer and the Existential Plight of the Young Adult," Educational Theory 70, 2 (2020), pp. 171-185.

Dustin Hornbeck, Kathleen Knight Abowitz, and Andrew Saultz, “Virtual Charter Schools and the Democratic Aims of Education,” Education and Culture 35, 2 (2019), pp. 3-26.

Sarah M. Stitzlein and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “Telling New Stories about School,” Phi Delta Kappan 101 (4) (December/January 2019/2020), p. 14-19.

Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Dan Mamlok, “The Case of #NeveragainMSD: When Proceduralist Civics Becomes Public Work by Way of Political Emotion,” Theory and Research in Social Education 47, 2 (2019), pp. 155-175.

Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Dan Mamlok, “#NeverAgainMSD Student Activism: A Response to Ruitenberg's ‘Educating Political Adversaries,” Philosophy of Education Society 2019, forthcoming.

Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Sarah M. Stitzlein, “Public Schools, Public Goods, and Public Work,” Phi Delta Kappan, 100, 3, October 22, 2018.

Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “The War on Public Education: Agonist Democracy and the Fight for Schools as Public Things,” Philosophical Inquiry in Education 25, 1 (2018), pp. 1-15. Available: https://journals.sfu.ca/pie/index.php/pie/article/view/1035

Kip Kline and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “Imagining Ourselves in the Future: Toward an Existential Ethics for Teachers in the Accountability Era,” in Eduardo Duarte, (Ed), Philosophy of Education 2015 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois), pp 162-170.

Kip Kline and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “Moving Out of the Cellar:  A New (?) Existentialism for a Future without Teachers,” Critical Questions in Education 4, 2 (Spring 2013).  Special theme issue:  In Defense of Foundations. Available: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1046733.pdf

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen.  “Achieving Public Schools.”  Educational Theory 61, 4 (August 2011), 467-489.

Higgins, Chris and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “What makes a Public School Public?  A Framework for Evaluating the Civic Substance of Schooling,” Educational Theory 61, 4 (August 2011), 365-380.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “What’s pragmatic about community organizing?” Philosophical Studies in Education 41 (2010), 60-71.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Qualifying my faith in the common school ideal:  A normative framework for shaping 21st century schooling,” part of an invited symposium on charter schooling in Educational Theory 60, 6 (December 2010), 683-702.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen and Robert Karaba. “Charter schooling and democratic justice.” Educational Policy, 24, 3 (2010): 534-558.

Burbules, Nicholas, and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “A Situated Philosophy of Education,” In Philosophy of Education Yearbook 2008, edited by R. Glass. Urbana, Ill.: Philosophy of Education Society, 2009).

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Moral perception through aesthetics:  Engaging imaginations in educational ethics.” Journal of Teacher Education 58, 4 (2007): 287-298.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen and Jason Harnish. “Contemporary Discourses of Citizenship.” Review of Educational Research 76, 4 (2006): 653-690.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Starting at home, then leaving it.” Philosophical Studies in Education 35 (2004): 89-100.  Available: http://www.ovpes.org/2004/Abowitz.pdf 

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen and Kate Rousmaniere. “Margaret Haley as Diva:  A case study of a feminist citizen-leader.” The Initiative Anthology.  Available: http://www.units.muohio.edu/eduleadership/anthology/> (posted March 2004).

Quantz, Richard and Kathleen Knight Abowitz. “Social Foundations, Disciplinarity, and Democracy.” Educational Studies 33, 1 (2002):  23-34.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen.  “Charter Schools and Social Justice.” Educational Theory 51, 2 (2001): 151-170. [15% acceptance rate; circulation 2,000]

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “A Pragmatist Revisioning of Resistance Theory.” American Educational Research Journal 37, 4 (2000): 877-907.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Civil Society as a Site for Building Educational Publics:  Possibilities and Limitations,” Educational Studies 31, 4 (2000): 375-393.

Romanello, Mary and Kathleen Knight Abowitz. “The ‘Ethic of Care’ in Physical Therapy Practice and Education: Challenges and Opportunities.”  Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 14, 3 (2000):  20-25 [special themed issue on professional ethics].

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen and Kate Rousmaniere. “The Tensions of Urban School Renewal in an Era of Reform.” The Educational Forum 64, 4 (2000): 358-66.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen and Deron Boyles. “Private Interests or Public Goods?:  Dewey, Rugg, and their Contemporary Allies on Corporate Involvement in Educational Reform Initiatives.” Philosophy of Education 2000.  Philosophy of Education Society, Urbana Illinois (2001): 131-139.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Democratic Communities and Business/Education ‘Partnerships’ in Secondary Education.”  The Urban Review 32, 4 (2000):  313-341.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Public Heroes:  Corporate Leaders and American Education,” Philosophical Studies in Education 32 (2000): 119-126.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Reclaiming Community,” Educational Theory 49, 2 (1999): 143-159.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Exploring the public/private divide:  Business partnerships with public schools,” Philosophical Studies in Education 31 (1999): 52-67. 

Magolda, Peter and Kathleen Knight Abowitz .  “Communities and Tribes in Residential Living,” Teachers College Record 99, 2 (1997): 266-310. 

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Neglected Aspects of the Liberal-Communitarian Debate and Implications for School Communities.” Educational Foundations 11, 2 (1997): 63-82. 

Books and Edited books

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen, with Steve Thompson.  Publics for public schools:  Legitimacy, democracy and leadership.  New York: Routledge, 2014.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. Making Meaning of Community in an American High School:  A Feminist-Pragmatist Critique of the Liberal-Communitarian Debates. Creskill, NJ:  Hampton Press, 2000.

Michael P. Evans and Kathleen Knight Abowitz  (Eds.)  Engaging Youth in Leadership for Social and Political Change (New Directions in Student Leadership, issue 148, Winter 2015).  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1119210674.html

Book Chapters

Sue Ellen Henry and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “Black Bodies in Schools: Dewey’s Democratic Provision for Participation Confronts the Challenges of ‘Fundamental Plunder’ Dewey and Education in the 21st Century: Fighting Back, edited by Ruth Heilbronn, Christine Doddington, & Rupert Higham (West Yorkshire, UK: Emerald Publishing, 2018).

Re-print:  Kathleen Knight Abowitz and Kate Rousmaniere, “Margaret Haley as Diva:  A Case Study of a Feminist Citizen-Leader,” in Keeping the Promise:  Essays on Leadership, Democracy, and Education edited by Dennis Carlson & C. P. Gause (NY: Peter Lang, 2007).  Reprinted in Richard Quantz and Joao Paraskeva, ed., A liderança baseada na cultura. Ensaios sobre liderança, cultura e escolarização (Edições Pedago, 2012).

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen, Stephanie Raill-Jayanandhan, and Sarah Woiteshek, “Public and Community-Based Leadership Education,” in From Command to Community: Redefining Leadership Education in Colleges and Universities, Nicholas V. Longo and Cynthia Gibson, Eds. Boston: University Press of New England, 2011.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Intergenerational justice and school choice.” In School Choice Policies and Outcomes: Philosophical and Empirical Perspectives on Limits to Choice in Liberal Democracies, edited by W. Feinberg and C. Lubienski, pp. 79-98.  Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2008.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen and Joseph Wegwert. “Veteran’s Day in a U.S. public high school:  Lessons for nationalistic loyalty or cosmopolitanism?”  In Changing Notions of Citizenship Education in Contemporary Nation-states, edited by K. Roth and N. Burbules, pp. 51-76.  Rotterdam, The Netherlands:  Sense Publishers, 2007.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen and Kate Rousmaniere. “Margaret Haley as Diva:  A case study of a feminist citizen-leader.” In Keeping the Promise: Educational Leadership and the Promise of Democracy in Our Time, edited by D. Carlson and C.P. Gause.  New York:  Peter Lang, 2007.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen. “Confronting the paradox of autonomy in a social foundations classroom.” In Teaching Context: A Primer for the Social Foundations of Education Classroom, edited by D. Butin.  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.

Rogers, Judy, Peter Magolda, Marcia Baxter Magolda and Kathleen Knight Abowitz. “Promoting Self-Authorship in Graduate Education.” In Learning Partnerships:  Educating for Self-Authorship, edited by M. Baxter Magolda and P. King.  Sterling, VA:  Stylus Publishing, 2004.

Abowitz, Kathleen Knight. “Civil Society and education publics:  Possibilities and problems.” In Promises to Keep:  Cultural Studies, Democratic Education, and Public Life, edited by D. Carlson and G. Dimitriadis, pp. 77-94.  New York:  Routledge, 2002.

Abowitz, Kathleen Knight. “Places where people learn.”  Schools that Learn, edited by P. Senge, N. Cambron-McCabe, T. Lucas, J. Dutton, B. Smith, and A. Kleiner.  New York:  Currency Books, 2000.

Henry, Sue Ellen Henry and Kathleen Knight Abowitz.  “Interpreting Glasser’s Control Theory:  Problems that Emerge from Innate Needs and Pre-determined Ends.” In Classroom Discipline in American Schools:  The Democratic and Emancipatory Potential of Public Education, edited by R. E. Butchart and B. McEwan.  Albany:  State University of New York Press, 1997. 


Clyde Brown, Annie Miller, Kathleen Knight Abowitz, and Stephanie Raill Jayanandhan.  Ohio’s Civic Health Report 2009: Civic Engagement in Hard Economic Times (Washington, DC:  National Conference on Citizenship, 2009).  Available: http://www.ham.muohio.edu/cce/documents/Final_OCHI_2009.pdf

Clyde Brown, Brian Danoff, Stephanie Raill Jayanandhan, Kathleen Knight Abowitz, and Jack Simon.  Ohio’s 2008 Civic Health Index:  Beyond the Vote in a Battleground State (Washington, DC:  National Conference on Citizenship, 2008).  Available:  http://community.muohio.edu/wilks/civichealthreport

Gaston, A., Sondra Kelley, Kathleen Knight Abowitz, Kate Rousmaniere, and William Solomon.  Collaborations within and without:  The Case Study of Taft High School.  Columbus, OH: Ohio Department of Education, 1999.  A case study on school reform researched and written within the Transforming Learning Communities project in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Education and the International Center for Educational Change at the University of Toronto.


Malin, Joel and Kathleen Knight Abowitz, “Private interests are wrongly shaping education policies in Ohio,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 21, 2020.

Knight Abowitz, Kathleen and Tom Poetter.  “Successful mediation would mean equitable solution for school funding.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 16 December 2001, Cincinnati, Ohio: F3.

Poetter, Tom and Kathleen Knight Abowitz. “Vote ‘Yes’ for Talawanda Schools,” “The Value of Public Education,” “The Difference that Teachers Make,” a series of three editorials published in The Oxford Press, 28 September, 5 October, and 12 October 2000, Oxford, Ohio: A4, A5 and A3.