democracy in schools, not

English: In a collaborative e-democracy every ...
In a collaborative e-democracy every citizen participates in the collaborative policy process, either indirectly - by delegating proxy representatives to vote on their behalf within the different policy domains, or directly - by voting on a particular issue (green arrows). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I blog about how schools should allow families and kids to make deep choices in everything. I honestly think that if we provided well-funded learning centers that offered services families wanted, schools would become strong community centers and services would be greatly expanded while the ability to control resources would be far greater with the granular control of families being felt, as it never can be in the current model.

Few people within the system even consider this idea, it is so obviously impossible to them. And maybe it would never work since skill at democracy and tolerance in schools is near zero, as the story told in the articles below shows. What lessons were really learned?

Students in a turnaround school voted to allow hoodies and hats after a formal debate and study. That vote was immediately questioned by administrators, even by Board members who themselves wore hats at meetings, as they voted against students wearing hats in school. Security, policy consistency, and too much change were reasons given by administrators for overriding student decisions. The absurdity of this is clear when reading these articles. (The pictures are great.) 

In fairness to the administrator, he has so-called accountability bots breathing down his neck, test score mania means big money, and since families are legally disempowered, no one has his back. Kids have no vote and families have no way to be deeply involved within schools and that means schools currently have a deep democracy problem, a legacy of the expedient policy of compulsory attendance that has helped grow a system without deep structural ties to the people it serves.

Meadow Street Clamps Down On Turnaround | New Haven Independent: "New Haven’s superintendent of schools put his foot down on experimentation in New Haven “turnaround” schools—and forbade High School in the Community from allowing hats in hallways after all.   ...

The hat vote, he said, is an example of how “downtown government supersedes what the school says.” Because the hat policy students wanted “didn’t match what downtown wanted, that’s not going to work.”


The debate and vote were “a terrific learning lesson for the kids,” Cicarella said, “but we have a school policy.”
...

Trevor Smith said he “didn’t think the vote would change” the policy in the first place. “A bunch of students can’t change the rules. That’s just the way you’re going to have it.”
Students Invoke Free Speech In Great Hat Debate | New Haven IndependentWe’re giving you a chance to have a say in what goes on in school,” Building Leader (aka Principal) Erik Good told students before the debate."

School Votes For Hats; District Brass Balks | New Haven Independent: "Students and teachers at a “turnaround” school got a double lesson in democracy: They voted to overturn a ban on hats and hoods in hallways, only to see top district officials swing back against their claim to newfound decision-making."

School Ditches Factory "Assembly Line" | New Haven Independent:
“We’re pushing all the assumptions of how school is supposed to work,” said Erik Good, who’s steering the experimental journey."


background
but would it work?
what real choice would look like

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