Schools need to teach and practice "citizen politics," politics revolving around citizens, not politics revolving around politicians, professionals, or parties, if schools are to be true to their calling as building the democratic way of life.

Schools are hardly designed to encourage "confrontations" over our strongly held views in ways that, over time, lead us to reconsider our own opinions.

The work of creating and sustaining free spaces in and around schools, where there is room for people to develop public capacities ("democratic habits") and democratic intellectual life, is a crucial part of a movement for democracy schools. How can policy promote them, and the educators who can do this work?

We need to introduce policies that will turn schools into places where adults and youths learn to use their voices effectively, have respect and empathy for others, and discover what a community is and how to be a member of one.

What might be a federal policy for a new administration that would help create a school system for a democratic way of life?


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