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American Public Education and the Responsibility of its CitizensSupporting Democracy in the Age of Accountability$
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Sarah M. Stitzlein

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190657383

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190657383.001.0001

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Defining Public Schools and Understanding Their Shifting Terrain

Defining Public Schools and Understanding Their Shifting Terrain

(p.43) 3 Defining Public Schools and Understanding Their Shifting Terrain
American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens

Sarah M. Stitzlein

Oxford University Press

Chapter three illustrates the essential role of public schools in a vibrant democracy. I define what public schools are, identifying five key elements essential to their form and function. My discussion of the shifting nature of democracy, schools, and citizenship reveals that it is worthwhile to refocus our attention on these elements of public schools now as some are being compromised or eclipsed within the latest forms of school practice and governance. I detail the changing landscape of public schools in recent years by looking at particular recent transformations to the governance and practice of public education. These changes include aspects of schools choice, vouchers, for-profit education management, loss of local control, mayoral oversight of schools, recovery school districts, portfolio management models, and corporate influences. I also describe how citizens’ relationships with schools have changed and how citizens themselves have changed, especially under the influence of neoliberalism.

Keywords:   Neoliberalism, school reform, education policy, school changes, public schools, school choice, corporate influences, For-profit education management, publicness

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