Conversations We Don’t Want to Have
In 2015, I wrote that decades of sweeping attempts to reform of our educational system had taken a heavy toll on our public schools. As a result, America’s schools were at a turning point. Today, the fate of our public schools is still undecided. Perhaps if it weren’t for the pivotal role they play in our democracy, the situation wouldn’t be so important. But it is. Our public schools are a cornerstone of our democracy. In “public schools are the starting point for bridging our divides,” Derek Black reminds us that in our nation’s prior cultural and constitutional struggles, public education has been a central aspect of bringing people together and inching closer to a more perfect union. He says that for this to continue will require us to commit to opening our schools to tough conversations about the history we teach, the values we instill and the equality we must provide. These are conversations many of us don’t want to have but, for the sake of the millions of Americans who believe in our country and want to make a difference, we must have.
Derek Black is a professor of law and the Ernest F. Hollings Chair in Constitutional Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is the author of “Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy.”