In this essay, William Ayers calls for a more vital and effective public education system,one guided by the basic democratic principle that all human beings are of incalculable and irreducible value. Ayers argues that to achieve such a system we must reclaim schools from the industrial model of the twentieth century and build classrooms that respond to the broad and complex needs of the actual students who arrive at the schoolhouse door. Stories of the 2008 election punctuate his argument about the urgency of seizing this moment to disrupt the dominant framework defining public education reform. He calls on each of us to promote an alternative discourse as we simultaneously challenge and assist the Obama administration in envisioning and creating schools that more authentically reflect the ideals of a democracy.

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