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.

Who has the right to change the rules of the game to initiate public work? Who chooses its so-called leaders who speak for the whole?

To gain public support for democracy schools we need to emphasize the work of building such schools, and also how such schools can prepare students who build democracy through their work. The Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and early 1940s has lessons.

Only by valuing civic virtues can we begin to explore what it might mean to make K-12 public education democratic.

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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