What Public Schools Can and Can’t Do

In her new book, Ilana M. Horwitz shows how public schools are both more formative and more limited than is often assumed. While they serve an important role in the academic and social formation of students, schools stand as just one institution among many in contributing to student outcomes. As we emerge from the significant educational disruptions occasioned by the COVID pandemic, Horwitz’s research suggests that we must work toward rebuilding schools and other institutions alike.
As a counterweight to the transience and loneliness that pervade our society today, Dante’s medieval theological vision reminds us that friendship is central to human flourishing because it is central to the human person. Friendships—no matter how fleeting—prepare us for union with God.