America's history of collective action around schools—schools created by people's public work—is vital to remember in this election season because it is a story of the strength of the people, not the strength of elites. It includes largely unknown stories like the vast citizenship school movement of the civil rights movement, in which people found their strength. This election is all about the strength of celebrity candidates, not the people. We badly need a different public narrative of America.


Where do pre-adults have a chance "to learn democracy," much less get in the habit of expecting it?


Focus on the "structures" of democracy brings to mind the role of elections and assessment in a democratic way of life. How do we think about elections if "we the people" are at the center? How do we avoid another "Southern strategy" like Nixon's, which divided working people by race? How do we assess civic agency?


School communities need a balance of "formal" democracy and civic agency.


Is democracy "who decides"? Or is it civic agency, co-creative, collaborative power to shape the world developed through public work? Or is it both? This is a crucial discussion and debate. Here Boyte argues the civic agency side, though not dismissing decision making. He uses examples from Africa.


The opinions expressed in Bridging Differences are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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