In an essay condemning political and social indifference in prewar Italy, Antonio Gramsci (1916/1977) forcefully argued that action was everyone’s responsibility and that each individual, no matter how apparently powerless, was accountable for the role he played or failed to play in the larger political struggle. If we accept Gramsci’s notion that indifference is often a mainspring of history, and if we substitute the word “teacher” for Gramsci’s “man,” we have a powerful statement about the accountability of individual educators for their efforts to reform U.S. schools:

Every [teacher] must be asked to account for the manner in which he [sic] has fulfilled the task that life has set him and continues to set him day by day; he must be asked to account for what he has done, but especially for what he has not done…. It is time that events should be seen to be the intelligent work of [teachers] and not the products of chance or fatality. (p. 18)