Public education is a set of guiding principles—a combination of beliefs about something that ought to be provided. Some characteristics include,
- Availability to all children
- Preparation for success in career and higher education
But these principles can be operationalized in countless ways. How we bring them to life is up to us.
A good analogy is democracy. That too is a set of principles:
- Suffrage for all adults
- One person, one vote
- Secret ballots
- Fair counting of results
But it can take many forms. In the US, we elect a president and Congress separately. In the UK, the prime minister is part of their legislature.
Every four years, we’re reminded that Iowa has a caucus while New Hampshire has a primary. These, and more, are all legitimate forms of democracy.
The problem with urban public education is that we have been led to believe that there is but one real way to deliver public schooling: the district. In fact, many people believe that “the district” and “public education” are synonymous.
But they are not. The district is just one way to deliver public education.
We can do something different.
Some of you have probably believed that to have...