Rather than forming one people out of a diversity of people--the "e pluribus unum" ideal"--public schooling today draws people in conflict over budgets, curricula, school start times, and a host of other divisive matters.
The interactive map aggregates subsets of these battles: those pitting educational effectiveness, basic rights, moral values, or individual identities against each other (e.g., curriculum, freedom of expression, gender equity, human origins, moral values, race/ethnicity, reading materials, religion, sexuality). Oftentimes, these battles are intensely personal because they guarantee that one fundamental value will win and another will lose.
Fiddle around with the map to find out what's transpiring across the USA when the focus is public schooling. Just select a button to locate conflicts by type, state, school district, or year. Or, hit “keyword search” and enter search terms in the field. Another approach is to click on a conflict type on the legend. Having narrowed down the search, click on the markers for descriptions of specific incidents. In some areas there are many incidents in close proximity; zoom in to identify them all. In addition, some battles fall under more than one conflict type--e.g., religious battles may also involve freedom of expression--but these are listed under only one heading.
Playing around with the map, consider some of the social effects that public schools have upon the nation, oftentimes generating controversies that pit not just one side against another, but are symptomatic of a system that generates conflict between good people holding different values. The facts conveyed by this interactive map can also be used to network with others embroiled in such values-based controversies.
For an in-depth discussion of public schooling and social conflict, and how school choice may provide a solution to the problem, consult the Cato report “Why We Fight: How Public Schools Cause Social Conflict.”
New incidents are being continuously added to the map. Send any conflicts, errors, or questions/concerns to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, look for new battle info, or discuss education conflicts, on Twitter using #WWFSchool.
The Motley Monk offers kudos to the Cato Institute for publishing this interactive map.