Compromise is essential for democratic schools, which need to teach faculty, parents, and students to respect each other without burning out.
November 2015 Archives
This blog responds to Deborah Meier's questions about creating a movement for democratic change in education. Boyte argues that "free spaces" where citizen-centered politics can be taught, learned, and practiced offer hope - through a citizen-led alternative to growing violence and fragmentation.
What I want to encourage is for every community to discuss what they want for themselves, their neighbors, and the world that schools might be the appropriate vehicle for.
In this continuing dialogue with Deborah Meier, Harry Boyte argues that democracy in education will continue to be marginal -- and structural ideas will have little purchase - unless we have a robust discussion about "what is democracy?" He points to the recent conversation between President Obama and the writer Marilynne Robinson, as well as the narrow view of education in the recent Republican debate.
How can we create schools with more autonomy and communities that challenge the norms that are counterproductive to democracy?
In this blog, Harry Boyte agrees with Deborah Meier that "choice" is not the same as democracy. He argues for a citizen politics of plurality, cooperation, equality, respect for people's potential, and recognition of a public realm, different than private life, and proposes that spreading such politics requires "cultural organizing."
School choice, rather than being democratic, often creates communities separate from the ones we actually live and vote in.
Harry Boyte responds to Deborah Meier's story of large-scale school reform efforts which failed or were ignored by policy makers, by calling for a "Copernican Revolution" in how we think about politics.