When administrators act, they constitute as well as manage. But what is being constituted—Leviathans or self-governing communities of relationships in compound republics?
The development of the Common Core, the model school curriculum standards that have been adopted by 45 states, offers us a glimpse into the dark underbelly of the democratic drift toward soft despotism. Proponents tout Common Core as “state-led” and say states “voluntarily adopt” the standards. Philanthropic and corporate America have gotten involved voluntarily. Parents and students—those most intimately affected by the initiative—won’t get to be a part of the voluntarism. But Common Core is so good, the argument goes, they’ll want it anyway.
Essay published online and in the July/August 2013 print edition of The Freeman.