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Democratic education : Political theory

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Political theory
There are a variety of political components to democratic education. One author identifies those elements as inclusivity and rights, equal participation in decision-making, and equal encouragement for success. The Institute for Democratic Education's principles of democratic education identifies several political principles,

The interaction between democratic philosophy and education,
Pluralistic education,
School administration by means of democratic procedures,
Education based on respect for human rights,
Dialogic evaluation,
Dialogic relationships, and
Critical social thinking.

Effect on quality of education
The type of political socialization that takes place in democratic schools is strongly related to deliberative democracy theory. Claus Offe and Ulrich Preuss, two theorists of the political culture of deliberative democracies argue that in its cultural production deliberative democracy requires “an open-ended and continuous learning process in which the roles of both ‘teacher’ and ‘curriculum’ are missing. In other words, what is to be learned is a matter that we must settle in the process of learning itself."

The political culture of a deliberative democracy and its institutions, they argue, would facilitate more “dialogical forms of making one’s voice heard” which would “be achieved within a framework of liberty, within which paternalism is replaced by autonomously adopted self-paternalism, and technocratic elitism by the competent and self-conscious judgment of citizens."

As a curricular, administrative and social operation within schools, democratic education is essentially concerned with equipping people to make "real choices about fundamental aspects of their lives" and happens within and for democracy. It can be "a process where teachers and students work collaboratively to reconstruct curriculum to include everyone." In at least one conception, democratic education teaches students "to participate in consciously reproducing their society, and conscious social reproduction." This role necessitates democratic education happening in a variety of settings and being taught by a variety of people, including "parents, teachers, public officials, and ordinary citizens." Because of this "democratic education begins not only with children who are to be taught but also with citizens who are to be their teachers."

Preparation for life in a democracy
The "strongest, political rationale" for democratic education is that it teaches "the virtues of democratic deliberation for the sake of future citizenship." This type of education is often alluded to in the deliberative democracy literature as fulfilling the necessary and fundamental social and institutional changes necessary to develop a democracy that involves intensive participation in group decision making, negotiation, and social life of consequence.

Civic education
The concept of the hidden curriculum includes the belief that anything taught in an authoritarian setting is implicitly teaching authoritarianism. Thus civic education, if taught in a compulsory setting, undermines its own lessons in democracy. A common belief in democratic schools is that democracy must be experienced to be learned. This argument conforms to the cognition-in-context research by Lave.

Another common belief, which supports the practice of compulsory classes in civic education, is that passing on democratic values requires an imposed structure.

Arguments about how to transmit democracy, and how much and how early to treat children democratically, are made in various literatures concerning student voice, youth participation and other elements of youth empowerment.

Standard progressive visions of education as collaboration tend to downplay the workings of power in society. If learners are to "develop a democracy," some scholars have argued, they must be provided the tools for transforming the non-democratic aspects of a society. Democracy in this sense involves not just "participation in decision making," a vision ascribed especially to Dewey, but the ability to confront power with solidarity.

Economic theory
Core features of democratic education align with the emerging consensus on 21st century business and management priorities. Such features include increased collaboration, decentralized organization, and radical creativity.

wikipedia.org

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