Public education is essential to a democracy. It is not simply education that is funded by the commonwealth, rather, it is an institution designed to teach citizens how to live in a free society. It must be rooted in a curriculum that is free of indoctrination, religious coercion, political intimidation and intellectual bias.
Thomas Jefferson said: "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."
Jefferson and others believed that the newly formed republic could not survive without public education. He believed citizens should be enlightened, free of misinformation and ignorance. Good, authentic education teaches children to think critically, rather than inculcating them into a prescribed set of rote facts or rules. This critical thinking applies to mathematics as well as science, art, and social studies. It includes the sharing of ideas and the interactive process of testing conclusions and formulating opinions. It allows students to hear what others think and then the opportunity to test those ideas against their own.