As you are discussing an issue or idea with another, have you ever felt like shouting this headline about shouting? In today’s political environment, the litany of subjects which invariably yield to more heat than light is far too long. We could begin the list with the Affordable Care Act, the minimum wage and right to work legislation, casinos, climate change, the list goes on for issues that seemingly induce incivility?
Despite bi-partisan support for public charter schools at the national level, there is a distinct lack of civil discourse about what public charter schools could do for children in Kentucky. That is why a current effort to bring transparency to the pros and cons of charter schools by the Bluegrass Institute is so commendable. Now folks surely know that there are more than a few issues around which we at Kentucky Youth Advocates disagree with the Bluegrass Institute folks – and, on the other hand, there are other issues, like government transparency, in which we are in enthusiastic agreement. In a lot of ways, the Bluegrass Institute is practicing what they preach on transparency.
Dr. Wayne Lewis – a current University of Kentucky professor – and Dr. Marty Solomon – a former University of Kentucky professor – present countervailing arguments in a new published online debate over charter schools. Regardless of what you think about charter schools, the Bluegrass Institute’s noble effort around civil discourse is something that I encourage everyone to check out.
Due diligence demands that I share that Kentucky Youth Advocates as an organization and I personally strongly support public education and that is exactly why I believe that the time for high quality charter school legislation has arrived.
An issue like charter schools is too complex for bumper stickers. Richard Dreyfuss says it well when he suggests that, “Civility is not saying negative or harsh things. It is not the absence of critical analysis. It is the manner in which we are sharing this territorial freedom of political discussion. If our discourse is yelled and screamed and interrupted and patronized, that’s uncivil.” This, being the week of Fancy Farm, may not be the ideal time to say it, but let’s applaud those who apply critical analysis to policy without yelling at or patronizing the other side of the argument.