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October 25, 2016

Citizen Teachers: A New Common School Movement?

Democracy schools in America were associated with the "common school movement," embodying ideals of a "commonwealth" created and sustained by people in communities. As people made the commonwealth -- and its common schools -- they became invested in the commonwealth as a counterweight to private wealth. Can we do this again? If so, how did you rebuild a sense of ownership and connections in communities with the schools you were involved with?

September 13, 2016

Beyond the Melting Pot—The Powers of Citizens

The definition of citizens as co-creators adds dimensions of power beyond voting. It holds potential to challenge the "melting pot" definition of success in America, revitalizing cultural pluralism, the hidden genius of diverse cultural communities, and generating a less materialistic understanding of the American dream. How can we develop assessment practices and norms to evaluate the skills and capacities of cooperative effort and cultural development?

September 06, 2016

Signs of Hope in Discouraged Times—a New Citizenship Movement?

In a discouraging time, stirrings of a new movement for citizenship and civic education are signs of hope. The youth civic empowerment and civic education initiative Public Achievement illustrates, as does the new field of Civic Studies, centered on citizens as co-creators, and new congressional legislation.

May 31, 2016

Building Democracy in Schools: The Larger Strategy

Building democracy in schools is best thought of as a strand of a larger strategy to resist the rising authoritarian dangers of our time. Such a strategy calls for cross-partisan politics, organizing that sees the democratic potential in every kind of community, and a commitment to defending democracy and also deepening democracy.

May 17, 2016

How Can We Create Schools of the People?

America's history of collective action around schools—schools created by people's public work—is vital to remember in this election season because it is a story of the strength of the people, not the strength of elites. It includes largely unknown stories like the vast citizenship school movement of the civil rights movement, in which people found their strength. This election is all about the strength of celebrity candidates, not the people. We badly need a different public narrative of America.

May 03, 2016

Rethinking Elections and Assessments Can Lead to a Democratic Awakening

Focus on the "structures" of democracy brings to mind the role of elections and assessment in a democratic way of life. How do we think about elections if "we the people" are at the center? How do we avoid another "Southern strategy" like Nixon's, which divided working people by race? How do we assess civic agency?

May 14, 2015

Why Public School Choice Should Be Part of School Improvement Efforts

isn't one of the central principles in a democracy, the power of citizens to make choices and decisions, within some limits? Also, don't we know that there's no single design/curriculum/organization for a school in which all students succeed? I think the answer is "yes." So public school choice, including chartering, with schools open to all - no admissions tests - should be part of what we work for.

April 14, 2015

Wise Bill Gives District Teachers Money to Help Start New Schools

Jim Bartholomew and Louise Sundin often do not agree on education issues. Bartholomew lobbies for the Minnesota Business Partnership, the state's largest corporations. Sundin is former president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, and former American Federation of Teachers vice-president. Last week they agreed. They both supported a bill with bi-partisan support that Minnesota legislators are considering. The bill would provide startup funds, helping district public school teachers create "teacher led schools."

April 09, 2015

Civil Rights Hero: 'Charters Are an Important Part of the Answer'

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, explained "I'm deeply grateful" to people involved in the charter school movement. "Charters are an important part of the answer" to what American children, especially low income and children of color need. She also stressed the importance of effective district, as well as chartered public schools.

April 02, 2015

NCAA Challenge Was a "Big Tent" Triumph

You, folks mentioned above, our Center and hundreds of others came together in a four-year battle with the N.C.A.A. It was a wonderful example of people across political, ideological and philosophical lines successfully challenging something that made no sense.

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