Why top-down reform won't save the education system

Countless top-down reforms haven't improved the U.S. education system; can community-based education make a difference?

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  • A new report from the RAND Corporation details another top-down initiative that failed to improve student achievement.
  • Community-based education reform creates coalitions of stakeholders to support lifelong learning.
  • Though barriers exist, such reform could synthesize the best of top-down and bottom-up reform.
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Participatory democracy is presumed to be the gold standard. Here’s why it isn’t.

Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.

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  • Polarization and extreme partisanships have been on the rise in the United States.
  • Political psychologist Diana Mutz argues that we need more deliberation, not political activism, to keep our democracy robust.
  • Despite increased polarization, Americans still have more in common than we appear to.
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3 unsung heroes who helped society overcome division

The true course of progress is not only charted by great men and women, but also by ordinary people having conversations.

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  • History's great men and women may enjoy name recognition, but everyday heroes can be anyone willing to talk.
  • We profile three everyday heroes who helped society overcome adversity through civil discourse.
  • Their stories validate John Stuart Mill's belief that good things happen when you converse with people with whom you disagree.
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One man's idea for the 'greatest PTSD healing curriculum' in America

Activist and Big Think reader Roy M. Arce explains his idea for a new community policing team and how it can halt vicious cycles of PTSD and homelessness.

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  • Roy Arce is a U.S. veteran with PTSD whose traumatic experiences with police led him to draft a proposal for how communities and police can work better together.
  • A new kind of police response team – made up of at least one police officer and a trained community peace representative – would be part of what Arce calls "the greatest PTSD healing curriculum" in the U.S.
  • This civilian proposal would also seek to treat homelessness in one of the country's most affected regions.
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