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For parents who are looking for a way to make a difference, I have a suggestion: Consider sending your children to a public school.

For some this suggestion may seem too modest to be meaningful. Most, however, would dismiss it as naive. The conventional wisdom is that the public schools are in terrible shape and no parent with the financial resources would make such a decision. But such reasoning reflects the prevailing narrow vision of community and good citizenship.

The classical definition of citizenship was framed in terms of duties - citizens were obligated to take their turn in public office, sacrificing some of their private life in the name of civic responsibility. The modern view of citizenship focuses more on rights - citizens have a right to vote and otherwise participate in public service, but also to place private concerns ahead of obligations to their community.


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