Divergent thinking, reflective of local environments, is required for a healthy democracy. Currently, predominant essentialist educational policies in America promote convergent thinking. Since control of information and resources originates from a centralized entity the program undermines professed American democratic ideals. The primary responsibility of the neighborhood public school is to educate the members of its local community to be competent citizens of a just and democratic society. This includes the emphasis of critical thinking, respect for self and others, the courage to question all information and its source, imagination, empathy and a passion for excellence. It is not the business of state or federal governments to dictate what to know or how to teach. The primary responsibility of the federal government is to preserve and promote the pluralistic, just and democratic society established when the United State was born. This is upheld when the federal government protect the rights, health and safety of its citizens fairly and with adequate resources. Otherwise, citizens cannot participate capably in a just and democratic society, putting such a society at risk.