Director of Education:
Our Founders (including adversaries like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) agreed that the primary purpose of education is not economic or even academic, but political—to make the new democracy work. I call this the Civic or Democratic Standard, which I first proposed in 1972 in my Harvard Law School thesis, and summarize in Repurposing Education.
My definition of The Civic Standard: “The primary purpose of public education is to prepare students to participate effectively as citizens in our constitutional democracy.” The Greedheads have turned the civic standard’s democratic concept upside down with their business purpose of preparing students to compete effectively in the global economy. One consequence of this narrow standard is renewed efforts to privatize public education via charter schools, vouchers, and for-profit education. See chapter four of A Rhodes Retrospective Volume 1 for details. In a dumbed-down age when political and economic spin is shameless because effective, the Founders’ vision of the informed and active citizenry necessary to Make Our Democracy Work is especially relevant.