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ERIC Number: EJ909337
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0039-3746
Misplaced Priorities: Gutmann's Democratic Theory, Children's Autonomy, and Sex Education Policy
Corngold, Josh
Studies in Philosophy and Education, v30 n1 p67-84 Jan 2011
This paper offers a critique of the "democratic state of education" proposed by Amy Gutmann in her influential book "Democratic Education". In the democratic state of education, educational authority is shared among the state, parents and educational professionals; and educational objectives are geared toward equipping future citizens to participate in what Gutmann calls "conscious social reproduction"--the collective shaping of the future of society through democratic deliberation. Although I agree with some of Gutmann's broad recommendations for civic education, I have misgivings about the centrality that she gives to conscious social reproduction in her theory of education. I argue that in focusing so intently on the facilitation of conscious social reproduction, Gutmann's theory makes insufficient room for the basic interests of individual children, and in particular, their prospective interest in autonomy. Gutmann's considered position on sex education policy--specifically, her willingness to allow local communities to deny their children access to sex education--exemplifies the shortcomings of her theory. Ultimately, her democratic state of education fails to acknowledge the fundamental moral importance of individual flourishing, and the contribution that education can and should make to it.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A