from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

If we are going to talk about education 

It seems to me that we need to establish where we stand. So I will in this diary offer a suggestion of how those of us who support education should approach any discussion on ANY topic of education. I have decided that it is the framework within which I will henceforth carry on my own discussions, public and private.

If you care about this issue, I suggest you continue reading.

teacherken’s framework for discussion:

Unless and until you commit the principle that every child in the United States is entitled to a free, quality PUBLIC education, we have nothing else about which to converse.

I refuse to discuss any subtopics of education with anyone who will not commit to this principle, because absent this commitment to a public good, I am afraid - based on experience - that all I will be hearing is points designed to justify doing something other than meeting this baseline necessity of maintaining a democratic republic.

Make the commitment. Tell me that you are committed to this simple principle. Then I am willing and ready to look at all kinds of options.

Refuse to make that commitment and as far as I am concerned, you have indicated to me you don’t truly believe in public schools, as a common responsibility, as a common good, as something to which our society and our nation should remain committed.

And if you lack that belief, then we cannot have a meaningful discussion about any subtopic of education, because your agenda must be how you can use that subtopic to undercut support for public education.

Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University refuses to share platforms or tv appearances with holocaust deniers because that gives them a legitimacy to which she does not believe they are entitled.

I will also refuse to grant legitimacy by participating in discussion about educational issues with those who are not committed to the proposition of public education.

Make a public commitment, and then we can explore in depth. Refuse such a commitment and I know you are an enemy - of public schools and of those of us who are committed the simply principle that a free, quality PUBLIC education is the right of every child in the United States.
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