What Kind of Education Generates a Democratic Community?

I believe that an education that generates a democratic community is one that emphasizes the power and thought of the individual in a society and not the society forced upon the individual. By this, I think that education must support each and every person’s own growth, development, and thought because it is one’s character that shapes a society. Hutchins notes in The College and the Needs of Society, “There are so many things a society needs to have done, and so many things an individual may want to do, that I am tempted to say that the college should ignore them all and ask itself how it can help its students become the persons they out to be, rather than ask itself how it can help them learn to do the things that they might want to do or that society might like to have them do” (179). I believe that liberal arts colleges support a democratic community, thus similar to the readings we read about what are the liberal arts. Liberal arts colleges foster individualism with the students and because of this, individuals have special needs and need to be taught accordingly rather than being taught strictly based on what society values. Like Hutchins’, I agree that individuals need to learn life skills and lessons outside of the classroom not just because that is where they are most applicable but because colleges have a plethora of information to teach students already without real life scenarios. In addition, education can be democratic if it is available and reachable to all people. Thus, Dewey writes in Chapter 7 of Democracy and Education, “Obviously a society to which stratification into separate classes would be fatal, must see to it that intellectual opportunities are accessible to all on equable and easy terms” (3). Furthermore, democratic and liberal teaching has become not available for people in low-income houses because of the high and constantly rising cost of private colleges. This problem makes it impossible for everyone to have the opportunity to engage in democratic learning, thus not promoting education as a part of the democratic community. Moreover, education not only needs to be accessible to all but it needs to be a part of the foundation that gets built upon throughout life. Hutchins continues about the future of education and society, “In this view the object of the college is to stimulate its students to want to get an education in their adult lives and to give them the training that will make it possible for them to continue learning and get an education in their adult lives. In no sense is a college education terminal. It is preparatory to more education” (181). Clearly, education can generate a democratic community by making schooling more accessible to all regardless of income, supporting the individual thought rather than what society enforces upon the individual, and by building a strong foundation to foster the growth of more knowledge.

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