Current visions of educational reform, both the statist systemic reform and the market-oriented emphasis on competition and choice, are neither of these. They provide no space between the state and the market. Both offer schools in which students are seen as competing with one another for advantage in the marketplace. Whether such schools will raise test scores I do not know, but it seems evident to me that they are unlikely to help students achieve a praiseworthy conception of a good life or to develop the social capital for a liberal democratic society. If we bring the civil society perspective to schooling, we will ask a wider range of questions, but if the civil society perspective is to fulfill its potential, it must view particularistic groups as resources for the development of social capital, not just as sources of sectarian strife.
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