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.

We need a democracy movement to revive "Cooperative Education," tying academic learning with work experiences. This points to a larger view of democracy as an empowering way of life, and also potentially undercuts extremist attacks on education for being disconnected from "jobs."

Those most affected by decisions should be involved in making them.

Democracy is not simply self-governance. It also involves cooperative labor, or public work, and deliberation. These are themes of a new transdisciplinary field of civic engagement called "Civic Studies." There are many implications for education and democracy schools.

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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