the Civic Mission of Schools

This was a fairly short work day, because I was helping at home in the

morning and then took a 2-hour lunch to discuss with colleagues the final

grades for last semester’s graduate course. (Three of us taught something

called "The

Proseminar in Politics, Philosophy, and Public Policy," a graduate-level

introduction to the basic tools you need to analyze fundamental social

and moral questions.)

The big thing that is going on at CIRCLE

is our soon-to-be completed joint report with the Carnegie

Corporation, entitled "The Civic Mission of Schools." We

worked all fall to hold meetings and email discussions for about 55 people

who are contributors to, and potential endorsers of, the report. The final

draft is now with these people for their last comments, and they are to

decide whether to endorse. Monday is the deadline. Some participants want

changes; the big debate is about whether it is necessary to run schools

in a more democratic manner. For some of our participants, this is the

key to reform. For others, it is risky and unsupported by research evidence.

We are working to develop compromise language that is meaningful advice

to schools. I remain confident that we will have a solid report with 50

signatories. (Meanwhile, I’m spending a lot of my time on practical details

like layout, copy-editing, scheduling the launch, etc.)