Dewey & Education

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Section 1: Thesis
Throughout the reading of Democracy and Education, the main point seems to be that if education is a social system, and that there are a multitude of societies with different goals and governing rules, then to have one education system is to operate under the assumption of one ideal society. Dewey goes about demonstrating this idea by highlighting three different educational theories and then examining them from that position. He discusses the educational philosophies of Plato, the eighteenth century, and the nineteenth century under the context of what each society held to be its driving values. Dewey concludes his argument by stating that education in a democracy is the “freeing of individual capacity in a progressive growth directed to social aims” (Dewey, 1916, p. 20). In other words, in order for a democracy to create an educational system without contradicting its founding principles, education must not only provide knowledge for an individual, but that it must also help each individual to grow in a sense that betters the group as a whole. Section 2: Questions

1. What does Dewey consider the fundamental flaw in our definition of a society?
In the beginning of his essay, Dewey points out that that a society could mean numerous things and have extremely varied goals. As he points out “In many modern states and in some ancient, there is great diversity of populations, of varying languages, religions, moral codes, and traditions” (Dewey, 1916, p. 2). Keeping that in mind, with so many different breakdowns of the population into smaller sectors, each one must have a set of rules or ideals that keep them unified. Because of that, when we look at society as a whole, on a larger scale such as when addressing the needs of education; it is impossible for there to be one set of principles that will apply to everyone. 2. Detail how one of Labaree’s competing goals of education might line up with a theory outlined by John Dewey. Though...
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