Wendy Lecker: The War on Public Schools and the Public Good

Diane Ravitch's blog

Like Jan Resseger, Wendy Lecker paid tribute to the political philosopher Benjamin Barber. She acknowledged his work on behalf of democracy and the public good, which is currently under attack by a bipartisan coalition of corporate reformers.

She writes:

Political theorist Benjamin Barber, who died April 24, wrote about the importance of education as a public good. “Education not only speaks to the public, it is the means by which a public is forged.”

As he noted, education transforms individuals into responsible community members, first in their classrooms and ultimately in our democracy. Local school districts are also the basic units of democratic government. 

Michigan professor Marina Whitman recently noted that the essence of a public good is that it is non-excludable; i.e. all can partake, and non-rivalrous; i.e. giving one person the good does not diminish its availability to another. 

Some school reforms strengthen education as a public…

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