A professor of educational leadership at Miami University, Kathleen Knight-Abowitz is helping to lead the transition of the Ohio Public School Advocacy Network from a superintendent-led initiative to a statewide grassroots movement. In her book, Publics for Public Schools: Legitimacy, Democracy, and Leadership, she explains why deliberation is so important when encountering many of the problems currently facing our public schools: 

“Citizens’ powers to shape their local schools’ vision and policies are mostly limited to participating in local school board elections or, more indirectly, one-way communications with their local/state/national legislative representatives.  School boards will hear from a few more motivated or vocal citizens at compulsory open forum times at school board meetings, but the random and irregular nature of citizens’ comments in such forums means that board members cannot rely (in terms of quantity or quality) on such irregular input for decision making.  Yet on a consistent basis, school boards and administrations encounter wicked problems that are perfectly suited for citizens, in deliberation, to exercise a more substantive voice in school decision making (Abowitz, 2013).”

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