Democracy and Education: The Missing Link May Be Ours

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John Willinsky


Much has changed since Dewey (1916) first laid out in Democracy and Education his vision of the US as a state of perpetual inquiry where citizens are engaged in sharing educational experiences. Changes for the good include extending suffrage to women and people of color, rising educational attainment, the successful challenging of racial segregation in the courts, and the recognition of cultural diversity through multicultural initiatives. On the other hand, American voter participation has declined, particularly since the 1960s; civic involvement, not to mention bowling-league membership, is down (Putman, 2000); corporate control of the media has increased, as has the media’s political influence (Bagdikian, 2000; McChesney, 1999); and affirmative action measures, which were showing positive educational effects (Bowen and Bok, 1998), are being challenged and blocked (Dworkin, 2001).

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