Democracy in its most basic form is a government run by the people. But what would become of the government if the people were ill-informed and ignorant? John Dewey, the father of experimental education, argued that for a democratic government to succeed it must entail a thorough and relevant educational system, a democratic education. All too often formal education simply teaches general skills and has unchanging subject matter predetermined for all students. Dewey argued that an education which adequately prepares the student for life outside the classroom cannot be reserved for the elite few. Instead, he envisions a high school which properly upholds a democratic government by presenting students with relevant problems; one which uses observation and gathered information to develop social insight and interest: a true democratic education. John Dewey’s argument that the success of a democracy is dependent on a formal education can be seen in today’s world through examples of people rising over social boundaries though an education, but can also be refuted by the notion of a formal education stifling creativity; in the end however, the success of a democracy is not based on the institution but instead upon the individual.
Formal education in today’s world is often the breeding ground for democratic ideals such as compromise and self-liberation. Compromise is a necessity within all levels of a democratic society, a necessity often forged within the classroom. It is learned not only by putting a variety of different students in the same class, but also through assignments which force students to look at a common belief in an uncommon way and therefore open themselves up to new ideas. Just as democracy is a pathway to freedom, so too can education be a pathway to freedom. For example, in the LA Times, Sherman Alexie wrote about his liberation from the bondage of Indian poverty through his dedication and love towards books. Alexie’s rise...
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