Home > Uncategorized > “We Agree on More Than We Disagree On” Overlooks Fact That We Disagree on Fundamental Value of Democracy

“We Agree on More Than We Disagree On” Overlooks Fact That We Disagree on Fundamental Value of Democracy

August 7, 2018

One of Diane Ravitch’s posts yesterday included a link to an op ed article written by Michigan State professor Mitchell Robinson who is tired of hearing this rejoinder from the charter school cheerleaders: “We probably agree on more than we disagree.” Mr. Robinson doesn’t think this is germane since what public school advocates disagree with begins with the whole ideological construct of schools as products that compete in the marketplace and ends with the fundamental inequities in public schools that exist today, inequities that result in the “separate but equal” school systems that are emerging as a result of over two decades of test-and-punish policies in his home state. And what would Mr. Robinson want to see in place of competition in the marketplace? Here are some of his key points:

  • Adequately fund for all schools, to ensure that “...the school in the inner city is as clean, safe and well-equipped as the one in the wealthiest suburbs.”
  • Require certified teachers in ALL schools and an end to “…allowing uncertified, unqualified edu-tourists from groups like Teach for America to be handed the responsibility of educating our children in urban and rural schools”
  • Offer a “...rich, engaging curriculum, including music, art and physical education” in all schools, recognizing that for some children these subjects “…are the things that make school worth going to.”
  • Assure that “…every child has access to a high quality public school, regardless of geography or socio-economic status” and admissions be completely open in all publicly funded schools.
  • Place a “…moratorium on the creation of new charter schools until all publicly funded schools are “competing” on level playing fields“.
  • Restore control of our public schools “…where it belongs: elected school boards made up of concerned citizens from the communities in which their schools are located.

The last point on this list underscores the flaw in the argument that “we agree on more than we disagree on” overlooks the fact that we disagree on the fundamental difference between for profit privatized charter schools and public schools: one operates like a business and the other operates democratically. Public education’s raison d’être is to graduate educated citizens who can serve in a democracy. Unless the system for educating our children IS a democracy our children will not learn how a vibrant democracy works.

 

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