A Very Important Question

For insight into major challenges facing our democracy, I often turn to my friend and colleague, Charlie Irish. One of those challenges which has been well documented through his work with the Kettering Foundation is the growing disconnect between America’s citizens and their public schools.  I recently asked Charlie if the grass roots movement to provide Ohioans with a stronger voice in shaping statewide education policy can help reverse this trend and begin to reconnect them with their local public schools.  Here’s what he said: ” This is a very important question.  I believe it can if, and only if, their voice is one that has emerged from genuine and sustained citizen to citizen interaction throughout the community.  When citizens share a deep understanding of what it means for a community to be accountable for education and why it is important for our democracy, they create a bond that cannot be broken.  On the other hand, if their voice is a merely a loud echo of language provided by school leaders, this promising grass roots movement will eventually run out of steam and slowly fade into the sunset.”

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