Saturday, September 1, 2012

public - walter feinberg

via diane ravtich here:

The transfer of your funds for the education of my child is justified in this view, because, at least up to a certain point, the education of my child benefits you. 
imagine the community better because the kid crafted a maker space, for the entire community to use for free, or imagine a museum, that is now geocached and has people going in, then back out into the community, becoming the museum..
imagine kids working on a new economy in the city, time banks, et al
imagine kids not just talking about potential start up businesses, but doing them, testing them out..

The “neighborhood” then is shorthand for all the individuals who benefit indirectly from another child’s education. A neigh- borhood benefit indicates a value that is shared by many, but it is shared by each of them individually.
An example of a neighborhood benefit might be the shade that your neighbors get when you decide to plant a tree in your yard. An example of a public good would be a decision of the members of a neighborhood to plant trees for the sake of shade. In the latter, there is a communicative relation between the members of the neighborhood that results in recognition that more shade is needed and in the decision to plant more trees in order to provide it.

on choice:
The result is that no parents get their preferred school because the preferred school would be a neighborhood school with all neighborhood children. And although some parents do get their second choice, the best academic school, most do not. In this case, the introduction of choice results in denying parents their preferences and in making them worse off than they would have been without choice.
Voting is an act of a citizen. It is the exercise of the right to state an official preference. Standing in line to vote is something else. It is a visible signal by a member of a public that voting is an important civic responsibility that serves to legitimize a democratic system itself. Standing in line is not stating a preference. It is an act of mutual communication of members of a public, each of them strangers to one another, about the importance of maintaining institutional legitimacy.
The first question of public education is not who shall control it, parent or state, or even how it should be financed (Gutmann, 1987). The primary question about public education is how to initiate students into this ongoing intergenerational conversation where they understand that this conversation is about them. It involves creating bonds of trust where new citizens understand that others are able to engage in reasonable discourses, where each accepts the burden of justification, and where students learn to reject servility both intellectually and emotionally, for themselves and for others (Callan, 1997, pp. 152–157). I
Yet my argument has been that in losing sight of the public role of public education, we lose the process of public formation altogether and that this is a very high price to pay.