[A]n education [. . .] that was designed to support a truly direct, deliberative democracy [. . .] would be an education oriented to the ‘strong publics’ of decision-making rather than the ‘weak publics’ of opinion formation. (205)
In my opinion, in this quote Fleming argues that encouraging students to think for themselves and make their own decisions is far more important and gratifying than to merely have them state their opinions on certain matters. To me, the author is addressing the issue of actions over words. Democracy is founded in the principle that the people hold true power through decision making. It is not enough to just have an opinion on something, instead one must act upon one’s opinions in order to make an impact.
During my entire high school experience, not one teacher challenged me to go beyond the notorious “5-parragraph” essay. It was almost as if all they cared about was teaching us structure and formatting, but completely disregarded our opinions. I think this teaching technique, if it should even be called that, does not grant students with the ability to think critically and defend one’s beliefs.