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Those are educational issues and they exemplify why education should be at the heart of the debate about public domain knowledge. How do each of us acquire the beliefs and values that tell us what is just, what is feasible, what is desirable, independent of any particular law or policy of the moment?

It is common to talk about schooling and society as two separate realms. We think of school as the place where ideas from society go, once they are well formulated, well worked out. We think of society as the place where students go once they are fully prepared. But we treat school and society as two different worlds, which just touch on graduation day.

John Dewey, who did much of his writing during that revolution in education of a century ago, challenged people to rethink dichotomies, such as that of school and society. As he did with similar analyses of public and private, individual and social, or child and curriculum, Dewey pointed out that treating those terms as oppositional leads to an impoverished understanding of both. He went on to argue that education was fundamentally about democracy and that a democratic society cannot exist without an educational system, which encourages and fosters the development of individuals who are capable of self-government. At the same time students cannot learn about democracy and about a democratic society if they do not have the chance to participate in it, both in the classroom and in the larger society.

Because data and information are inherent to meaningful communication, the public domain is absolutely crucial, not only for the development of knowledge in general and not only for learning, but ultimately for the development of a just and equitable society.

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