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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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Legitimacy of Public Schools

Legitimacy of Public Schools

(p.139) 7 Legitimacy of Public Schools
American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens

Sarah M. Stitzlein

Oxford University Press

In chapter seven, I define political legitimacy, describe its connection to healthy democracy, and reveal how recent changes in education and the climate surrounding it may be causing a decline in the legitimacy of our schools. I show how political legitimacy results from citizens concluding that schools, as state institutions, are worthy of recognition and serve a justified role. Redirecting our attention from the accountability crisis, I demonstrate that our schools are facing a legitimacy crisis that is exacerbated by larger changes in societal values, citizen identities, and ideologies. I describe how we might come together as publics to deliberate the purposes of schools and assess their performance at meeting those goals in order to affirm that they are just and serve our needs. I turn to defining civil society as the primary space where publics form and act and, hence, where the legitimacy of schools can be affirmed and democracy upheld.

Keywords:   Legitimacy, political legitimacy, civil society, public work, identity, public will

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