First off, I agree with your comment and the view of education implicitly shaped through your response to Mr. Gates. And while there are pockets of classrooms and even a few schools (mostly “democratic schools”) granting the level agency you seem to envision, I would argue none are doing it in a large-scale systemic way that carries sufficient leverage to not only positively affect children across all class lines but to also push the conversation to a place that is meaningful and transformational to all students in the United States. One-off successes here and there are great for a post and a photo-op but they clearly haven’t stopped us from moving in the wrong direction at a scary pace.
So, what happens if agency, engagement and other issues you so rightly champion (I’m with you all the way) are simply oppositional to schools or at least how we conceive that word? What if these elements that you and guys like Kohn have been arguing for simply cannot manifest and become as ubiquitous as SMART boards, elective PE classes, and the GPA?