Addressing One of My Few Frustrations in Life

For the past 25 years, I’ve relied upon the seminal research generated by the Kettering Foundation to help guide my thinking in my work with our public schools and the communities they serve.  One of the Foundation’s most important findings is not only people’s sense that they don’t own their schools but that their lack of ownership is a major problem for American democracy.  In his book, Reclaiming Public Education by Reclaiming Our Democracy, Kettering Foundation President David Mathews asserts that “ironically, those with the greatest opportunity to shape the lives of the next generation are at the end of a long chain of authority stretching from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue through state capitals to districts to local schools and finally into classrooms.”  He adds:  “I believe there are ways for them to enrich our schools and, at the same time, reinvigorate our democracy, which is inseparable from education.” With that said, one of my few frustrations in life is that the Foundation’s valuable work is not reaching the leaders of our nation’s public schools.  To rectify this situation, the Santa Rita Collaborative and the Kettering Foundation have initiated a study to begin to learn how superintendents can utilize Kettering’s work to influence the emergence of a community voice around educational issues and help citizens reclaim ownership of their public schools.  We are utilizing Reclaiming Public Education by Reclaiming Our Democracy as the centerpiece for our research.  I’ll share what we learn on this blog.

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