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.

It's easier to recognize what it looks like when democracy is absent than to describe any particular recipe for what it looks like in practice.

Democracy, in my experiences in the civil rights movement, meant agency. It conveyed the vast, often invisible and scorned potential of African Americans for action, and also the potential of all citizens to be co-creators of an empowering way of life. This was also the Greek meaning. We urgently need to remember it today when elections, a symbol, have become a substitute.

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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