Michael Walzer on Improving Education

Walzer: I think a democracy needs a very strong system of public education. I think that the teachers in that system should be respected and one way of respecting them is to pay them decently, which we don’t now do. I think an investment in public education is very important. It’s an investment not only of money but certainly of money, also of, so to speak, public time and energy. We should be committed to the best public school system. We should be committed to experimentation in the public school system so that there should be alternative schools within the public school system, trying out different forms of different educational practices. I don't think any liberal state can ban private education. I don't think that’s the right thing to do. I think both private for profit education and private religious education is permissible, but the school should think of those private and parochial, the public, the state, should think of those private and parochial schools as competitors with its own schools and it should aim to win the competition. It should aim to make the public system the dominant system of education.

Michael Walzer believes public education should be dominant in America.

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Popularity is slippery, and shouldn't be confused with quality, says critic A.O. Scott.

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