Bob Chase, the president of the National Education Association, recently declared that its members should “move beyond ideology” and “Politics must stop at the school door.” As I daily try to weave my way through the politics of schooling in order to focus on children, faculty, and families, I find it hard to be unsympathetic to this sentiment. But the truth is that public education needs more, not less, “ideology.”
When “ideology” is missing what we often have is an ideology in disguise, masked as “common sense.” Is the growing support for vouchers and privatization a sign that we have taken politics out of education? Is the increasing use of state legislation to decide how to teach nonideological? Is the fact that mayors are now directly involved in running city school systems a sign that politics has stopped at the school door? No: these are symptoms of an ideological attack on our public institutions....
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