10/29/2018 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Education and the Common Good

book cover of The Common Good and photo of the author Robert Reich Stay connected with CS&A

Needing a break from the political firestorm of late, we picked up the newest book by Robert Reich, “The Common Good” (Knopf, 2018). While it has been a joy to engage in a few evenings of reading a physical book that focuses intelligently on hope for the future, we are particularly glad to see that Reich includes education in his calculus.

Reich is a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, has served in three national administrations, and has written more than 15 books on social and public policy issues. In “The Common Good,” he argues that the nation would benefit greatly from reviving the conversation on what we see as the fundamental elements of the common good. But a central part of identifying, ensuring and sustaining the common good, he makes clear, is quality education for all.

The kind of education the nation serves up for children matters deeply:

“This sense of a common good also embraces public education — but not as a personal investment in getting a good job after one’s education is complete. Education is a public good that builds the capacity of a nation to wisely govern itself, and promotes equal opportunity. Democracy depends on citizens who are able to recognize the truth, analyze and weigh alternatives, and civilly debate their future, just as it depends on citizens who have an equal voice and equal stake in it. Without an educated populace, a common good cannot even be discerned. This is fundamental.”

In all our years working with schools, we know this to be true. We also know that our client schools share this view. They may be private and independent schools, but they all understand their core public purpose — which is why we get up each morning excited to support them in this essential work.

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1 Comment

Russell Tornrose 11/7/2018 at 7:11pm

Robert Reich’s work and public voice has been an inspiration for me over my years of teaching and administrating in public schools. So many voices: teachers, parents, and students emphasize education as a commodity that will make one wealthy and financially secure….good grades bring dollars.

Maybe it will…but some of our settling forefathers (Jefferson et al) envisioned a government that grew on the learning of all, the ongoing education of the people is necessary to grow the success of democracy. They knew that the one was necessary for the other. We learn not only to make ourselves successful and critical with our family but also with employers and even more so those who wield the power of our nation.

So many emerging nations have begun as a democracy only to end in the control of a single long lasting demagoge who reduces the public voice to a fearful whisper.