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September 2011 | Volume 69 | Number 1
Promoting Respectful Schools
Schools are ideal sites for preparing students to honor diverse viewpoints.
A democracy without controversial issues is like an ocean without fish or a symphony without sound. Discussing controversies about the nature of the public good and how to achieve it is essential if we are to educate for democracy; it's not going too far to say that without controversy, there is no democracy.
Clearly, educators need to prepare students to discuss controversial issues. This means teaching young people that they should not shun, fear, or ignore such issues. Students need to have experiences respectfully discussing authentic questions about public problems and the kinds of policies that can address those problems.
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