Democracy in Education

An analysis of Amy Guttman’s book on the concept of education within a democratic framework.

Amy Gutmann’s book, “Democracy in Education”, is a thoughtful analysis of the philosophical foundations of education in a democratic state. This paper shows how, in her investigation, Gutmann tackles a number of complex issues, including academic freedom, book burning, teacher’s unions, and public support for private schools in the context of this debate. The paper shows that, ultimately, Gutmann comes to the almost inevitable conclusion that the responsibility for education of democratic citizens is the citizens of a democratic state, acting on their own behalf, either privately or through their democratically elected representatives.
Gutmann sees the role of public schools in a democracy as a vehicle to educate future citizens of that democracy, enabling them to play a role in responsible self-government. These elements of responsible self-government include respect for liberty and opportunity, as well as a respect for the debate over political issues. It is the teaching of these important elements that serves the foundation for publicly subsidizing education in a democratic nation.