This chapter begins with a story about the complex realities involved in the struggle for critical democracy in education. The struggle for democracy in education has been and still is exactly that—a struggle. It has a long and valued history. This history encompasses multiple movements to transform educational institutions so that their means and ends respond to the lived needs and aspirations of that ongoing experiment of creating critical and knowledgeable citizens. The battles over official knowledge have not subsided. It is now time to "get real", to closely examine a number of the realities in which the conflicts over the meaning of democracy and its practices in schools and communities play out. The chapter looks at the ways in which local democracy works in the mechanisms in school systems that set policies for school finance, curriculum, evaluation, teachers' rights and responsibilities, and so much more.