Just as politics is an important function of a working democracy, smart politics can benefit schools and enhance democracy in schools, argues Deb Meier.

What's democracy got to do with teaching? Deborah Meier asked. A lot - including the nature of pedagogy and the identity of teachers who teach love of ideas, the importance of evidence, and the importance of public relationships with other adults, teachers and parents.

Democracy only works when open discourse is embraced. Schools must encourage discourse, and, even argument for the purpose of creating a foundation for democracy, and, in turn, some degree of liberty.

We need an "epistemology of agency" to counter today's growing "post-truth politics." And students will be receptive. They sense that we have the technology and the assets to address mounting problems. What we lack is education for civic agency, ways of knowing, learning, and acting to develop the capacities on a large scale for effective action across our differences. How can schools and colleges rise to this occasion?

In an open letter to Harry Boyte, Deborah Meier considers how elements of school choice, like school vouchers and charters schools, promote ethnic and partisan separatism.

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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