Our System Of Public Education Should Be Centered On Advancing “Liberty And Justice For All.”

The reason a society seeks to educate its young is based on the reality: it is in youth that the future of our society rests. Every primitive tribe has an educational program for its young with the purpose of strengthening and perpetuating the tribe.

Our tribe, our republic, seeks to educate our young through an elaborate and expensive government “educational system” that, overall, is ineffective. The premise of my book I am researching, “Kettering Public Education In The Year 2030,” is that, through a grassroots effort, Kettering, over time, transforms its system of public education and, by 2030, becomes a model system for the entire nation.

It is interesting to think that a successfully transformed system would be an invention widely copied.

The first step in building a system is to have a clear understanding of the aim of the system. We’ve created monsters called corporations whose sole aim is to make money and who see no responsibility to defend or promote the common good of society. What were we thinking? The creation and feeding of these monsters makes no sense if our aim truly is, “liberty and justice for all.”

The challenge I’ve made to myself is to write a book in which I imaging a future where Kettering, through a vitalization of its democracy, determines to create a system of education centered on preparing youth to advance the aim of “liberty and justice for all.” It would be fun to try to write a script of how a community could arrive at such a consensus.

The fun part of imagining this future will be to create a system design that seems feasible. I have in mind that readers of my book should be as Gene Wilder with hair on end, in “Young Frankenstein” shouting, “It. Could. Work.”

The structure of the system should demonstrate its aim. I’m thinking our system of public education should be an entrepreneurial system of some type — designed to empower students as individuals and teachers as professionals. It’s structure should be one that empowers community and cooperation and, at the same time, empowers each individual.

In the book I am writing, I imagine that at some point, a majority of the Kettering Board agrees on the aim of the Kettering system and agree to to fund an RFP that would pay chosen applicants to research, write and defend their plans for how Kettering might best achieve that aim. These plans would somehow be evaluated in a process I’ve not yet thought through, but I’m sure could fill a book. I want to write a more detailed RFP, but here is a rough draft of part of the information such an RFP might contain:

Request for Proposal

The Kettering Board is looking for proposals of what a transformed system of public education in Kettering, Ohio should look like.

Kettering seeks to create a system of education centered on: Preparing youth to advance the aim of “liberty and justice for all.”

Kettering believes that the structure of the system should:

  • Demonstrate its aim.
  • Empower students as individuals and teachers as professionals.
  • Create community and encourage cooperation.


  • Administrative support
  • Use of all the gorgeous facilities available in Kettering
  • $10,000 per year per student
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10 Responses to Our System Of Public Education Should Be Centered On Advancing “Liberty And Justice For All.”

  1. Rick says:

    Mike, you are hopeless! You want to remake society. A little humility is needed here. If you took 100 of the world’s smartest people and told them to create an ideal society, the result would be worse than what we have now. If we want kids to perpetuate the tribe, how about teaching them civics and history the way it was, warts and all. Teach them skills as well and quit worrying about brainwashing them.

  2. Eric says:

    how about teaching them civics and history the way it was, warts and all.


  3. Mike Bock says:

    Rick, I believe the challenge of the times should inspire us to think big. It seems you would agree with my basic premise that it would be a good thing for a community to exert local control of its system of public education and to create the best system possible, using money effectively to achieve as nearly as possible the aim of the system. We may disagree on what the aim of the system should be and how that aim should best be accomplished, but it seems you should agree with my basic premise.

    Eric, we need to think through a system design that will produce high quality results. The current system promotes a paradigm of “teaching them” is ineffective.

  4. The Natural Skeptic says:

  5. Eric says:

    Mike, please get a grip on reality. Unions play a powerful polarizing role in American politics through 3 mechanisms:

    1. Providing a base for Democrats
    2. Wooing swing voters with dubious endorsements of “pro-education” candidates (usually Democrats).
    3. Putting interests of union members and political power ahead of schoolchildren and American democracy.

    The terms teachers’ unions offer* are:
    1. For Republicans
    A. Proxy wars, typically against Republicans & their constituents
    B. “Rope-a-dope” negotiations with districts
    2. For Democrats
    A. Proxy wars, typically on behalf of Dems & constituents
    B. Broken promises

    Now we have the specter of President Obama telling America (albeit in other words), “If rope-a-dope was good enough for Governor Taft, it’s good enough for Governors Kasich, Walker, Daniels, etc.”

    Yes, we need to improve schools. The unions should eagerly embrace that work. Given their obstructionist tactics, ending collective bargaining may be the only constitutional course of action available to governors.

    That’s where Columbus is at. A serious attempt to help Senator Lehner might start with that reality and demonstrate how Kettering Foundation, Arne Duncan, Ed Deming, etc. can move us forward.

    *Assuming you read between the fine print. Admittedly, these are painted with a broad brush, but it appears to be lose-lose for schoolchildren despite sincere motives of the actual teachers.

  6. Mike Bock says:

    Eric, I make a reply about teachers’ unions here http://daytonos.com/?p=9976

    These are exciting times for education and I think it is good luck that my local representative and now local senator, Peggy Lehner, is chair of the Senate Education Committee. I’d like to suggest to her that if SB5 is approved, the good news is there will be the green space needed for transformation. But, the bad news is that there are no viable plans for how to use this green space, this opportunity, for the optimum good. There needs to be a serious discussion about system design and Senator Lehner in her role as chair, has a great opportunity to structure meaningful research and discussion about the topic

  7. Rick says:

    Mike, I do not advocate total local control of school systems, especially for dysfunctional ones like Jefferson Twp and Dayton.

  8. Eric says:

    There needs to be a serious discussion about system design and Senator Lehner in her role as chair, has a great opportunity to structure meaningful research and discussion about the topic

    The Ohio Senate Ed Committee is an odd place for an R&D lab. What’s needed is NIF in all house and senate districts so communities can sort through their options.

    But given your determination to task Senator Lehner with implementing your agenda, what questions should she be asking to facilitate “meaningful research and discussion?”

  9. Mike Bock says:

    Eric, I suggest some questions for Senator Lehner here

  10. Tevis says:


    I am glad to see this. When I looked at the date though, I obviously can’t look up this book I would LOVE to read. I am working on a class paper right now with the same concepts. I would also like to bring up the Occupy Movement that has happened since this thread, and hope that this is the beginning of a major political movement and upheaval whether the results are seen next year, in 5 years, or in 10 after a complete revolt of the people to their economically controlled government.

    Kudos to you and good luck!

    Los Angeles, CA

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