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Fulfilling Citizen Responsibilities

By virtue of their role as citizens, all Americans bear some responsibility to ensure that democracy is maintained and improved. This includes being concerned for the citizenship development, capacity, and agency of one’s fellow citizens, especially of those in the making in schools. In this chapter, I spell out some of the particular ways in which citizens can fulfill their responsibilities and describe how these differ relative to one’s position in relation to public schools—as a more distanced citizen or as one who walks school halls daily. These examples demonstrate some of the ways that we can approach our obligation in a front-loaded way that engages the citizens around us while focusing on the children coming up below us and on the democracy we craft together for the future ahead of us.

General Citizens and Their Responsibilities to Public Schools

Let us turn to looking more closely at some ways that citizens can fulfill their responsibilities to public schools. Notably, included within the more general category of “citizens” are parents. By virtue of their connection to schools and their deep interest in the well-being of their children and the friends of their children, parents have not only motivations that may enhance their commitment to supporting public schools, but also insider experiences, specialized knowledge, and useful networks that might better enable them to fulfill some of the responsibilities I outline here for citizens in general.

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