School communities need a balance of "formal" democracy and civic agency.
April 2016 Archives
Is democracy "who decides"? Or is it civic agency, co-creative, collaborative power to shape the world developed through public work? Or is it both? This is a crucial discussion and debate. Here Boyte argues the civic agency side, though not dismissing decision making. He uses examples from Africa.
Who has the right to change the rules of the game to initiate public work? Who chooses its so-called leaders who speak for the whole?
To gain public support for democracy schools we need to emphasize the work of building such schools, and also how such schools can prepare students who build democracy through their work. The Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and early 1940s has lessons.
Only by valuing civic virtues can we begin to explore what it might mean to make K-12 public education democratic.
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."