What kind of education creates a democratic community?

The relationship between education and democracy is one that requires a very nuanced discourse. Inside of this discourse, it is first important to distinguish the need for intellectuals in a democratic system. The first step of this is articulating the unique characteristics of democracy, which I contend are its focus on equality, equity, and transparency. Under this notion, I am in accordance with Dewey in his argument that “isolation makes for rigidity and formal institutionalizing of life, for static and selfish ideals within the group” (86). Hence, I advance that there needs to be a lack of isolation in education, meaning students are able to work collaboratively and interdisciplinarily. If this does not happen, democracy will not prosper because what Dewey calls the static and selfish ideals within the group will conflict with the equitable and equal nature of democracy. A world where people are educated in isolation results in fragmented societies where collaboration is impossible, let alone equality.This fragmentation could easily then spread to institutions and businesses, and this would result in  very conflicted economy which could spell disaster by many facets. But in focusing on education, this would result in what Dewey describes as “a society to which stratification into separate classes would be fatal, [and] must see to it that intellectual opportunities are accessible to all on equable and easy terms” (3). However, here I will extend Dewey’s argument in that the equality of these intellectual opportunities should also extend to the value of the education itself. However this is impossible in an extremely fragmented society where those of different disciplines constantly invalidate the educations of others, regarding them as impractical, easy, etc.


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