February 2016 Archives

Schools play the greatest role in sustaining the idea of democracy—and for this reason, we must rethink the qualities a public school should have.

Discussing and advancing democratic habits can help us move from objects of change to agents of change. And the process needs democratic habits of work, a focus on "hands" as well as "mind," and also "heart," democratic patriotism different than "global citizenship," and love of our society and its democratic potential.

Deborah Meier describes the five "habits of mind," the basis of Boston's Mission Hill School.

Today, when higher education faces ferocious attack, we need a broad movement to revitalize the democratic purposes and practices of colleges and universities -- for the sake of the whole society.

The absence of excitement about controversial ideas that the young demonstrate in school contrasts sharply with their excited reactions to Trump, Clinton and Sanders, etc.

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?


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