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Here is a provocative quote on democracy and schools, which I believe to be on the mark, from Leonard Turton, a teacher at the famous Summerhill democratic school in England, who I exchanged emails with on the AERO (Alternative Education Revolution Organization) listserv back several years ago.  As Democrats and progressive people, I think we all need think long and hard about what he is saying, and if we can rationalize our current education system with our democratic principles...

Any society that does not allow its children to practice democracy on a daily basis in its schools is not a democratic society...it is a society whose fundamentals are controlled by other forces while maintaining a democratic front...you cannot have generations of people brought up under state school dictatorial conditions, being told every day what to do and what to think and what, chosen by others, is and is not important, and pretend that those generations of children , on achieving adulthood, are going to demand a true democracy, or even , for that matter, be able to recognize what democracy is or is not... I guarantee, however, that such schools will produce a mass of controllable people who will believe that democracy is whatever anyone in authority over them says that it is...

Though I might not have used such inflammatory language, I believe that what he is saying needs to be reckoned with when we look at our schools today and contemplate transforming education in the 21st Century.

Originally posted to leftyparent on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 01:22 PM PDT.

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