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Public Education, Democracy, and the Role of the Federal Government: A Declaration of Principles

BOULDER, CO (January 13, 2017) – As the nation watches this month’s transition to a new administration and a new Congress, a growing alliance of deans of colleges and schools of education across the country is urging a fundamental reconsideration of the problems and possibilities that surround America’s public schools.

In a Declaration of Principles released today, 175 deans sounded the alarm: “Our children suffer when we deny that educational inequities exist and when we refuse to invest sufficient time, resources, and effort toward holistic and systemic solutions. The U.S. educational system is plagued with oversimplified policies and reform initiatives that were developed and imposed without support of a compelling body of rigorous research, or even with a track record of failure.” The deans called upon federal leaders to forge a new path forward by:

  • Upholding the role of public schools as a central institution in the strengthening of our democracy;
  • Protecting the human and civil rights of all children and youth, especially those from historically marginalized communities;
  • Developing and implementing policies, laws, and reform initiatives by building on a democratic vision for public education and on sound educational research; and
  • Supporting and partnering with colleges and schools of education to advance these goals.

Signing the statement are current and former deans of colleges and schools of education from across the United States, as well as chairs of education departments in institutions with no separate school of education.

The statement was authored by Education Deans for Justice and Equity (EDJE) and prepared in partnership with the National Education Policy Center. EDJE was formed in 2016 as an alliance of deans to address inequities and injustices in education while promoting its democratic premises through policy, research, and practice.

The entire Declaration of Principles by Education Deans for Justice and Equity on Public Education, Democracy, and the Role of the Federal Government, as well as an online form for additional education deans to sign on, can be found on the NEPC website at

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: