By the Editors of Rethinking Schools
As an essential starting point, discussions need to be guided by a set of principles. Developing such principles is difficult but can help create consensus, focus on priorities, reveal sometimes competing agendas, and clarify the criteria by which reforms can be judged.
Rethinking Schools offers the following working draft of a "Vision of Reform." The vision is not intended as a programmatic platform but as a set of principles that can guide the development of specific initiatives such as smaller classes or universal access to pre-kindergarten programs. The ultimate goal is to develop both principles and programs that will allow our schools to serve all students and to promote the broader social good.
Principle #1: Public schools are responsible to the community, not to the marketplace.
For the first time in contemporary history, the very concept of public education is at risk. This has important repercussions not only for public schools, but for the entire public sector.
Education reform must be grounded in the democratic vision that all of society is responsible for educating the next generation. Reform must be shaped by an understanding of the crucial role public schools play in helping create a multicultural democracy. That this vision has yet to be realized does not mean it should be abandoned.