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OPINION: Why Thomas Jefferson Would Be Proud of Florida’s Students

Here’s something to think about when you hear people question whether student protests are appropriate: We seem to have forgotten as a nation why we created public schools.

No one is confused about why we have public fire departments or libraries: We all understand their mission for the public good. But the mission and importance of public schools? Not so much.

Our nation’s founders understood that our great experiment in democracy would only succeed if Americans were prepared to actively contribute as informed citizens. In Thomas Jefferson’s words, public schools were created “to instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens.”

How are we doing in that department? Not so well.