Democracy and Possibility

Two quotes to start the week:

The first, a recent one, from Deborah Meier:

In all these years we have never seriously confronted society with the question of “why?” Do we really want schools to undo our class divisions? Do we want them to produce adults who are members of a shared and commonly cherished adult world—with inequities that we could all imagine living with? With adults who more or less equally appreciate and utilize democracy for their own self-interests, have more or less equal access to the media, to political influence, with fair and equal protection of the law?

I’d like, Diane, given the obvious reality of the above (it’s said harshly, but isn’t it the simple truth?), to suggest we shift the discussion. Maybe it’s time to think together about what schooling could be if we truly saw it as the bedrock of democracy—if we imagined we cared enough for the future of democracy to put everything we have into using schools toward such an end. We need something to fight FOR, not just against. The billionaires’ reforms take us backward, so what would forward look like?

The second, a much older one, from the philosopher Hannah Arendt:

Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from that ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable.  And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.

~Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought (New York: Penguin, 1968), 196.

Democracy and possibility?  That sounds like something worth fighting for to me.  Let’s get to this first period, tomorrow morning.