Democratic education infuses the learning process with these fundamental values of our society. Democratic education sees young people not as passive recipients of knowledge, but rather as active co-creators of their own learning.
Problems and Purpose
Democratic education begins with the premise that everyone is unique, so each of us learns in a different way. By supporting the individual development of each young person within a caring community, democratic education helps young people learn about themselves, engage with the world around them, and become positive and contributing members of society. They are not the products of an education system, but rather valued participants in a vibrant learning community.
Uniting democratic values with the educational process is not a new idea. Over the last 120 years, leading thinkers from John Dewey to Marian Wright Edelman and Margaret Mead to Paulo Freire have articulated the basic hypothesis that:
"If living in democratic societies committed to human rights creates well-being, AND if people learn primarily based on the people and environment that surrounds them, AND if culture is transmitted from one generation to another, THEN we need to create environments where people of all ages, especially youth, are immersed in the values, practices, and beliefs of democratic societies and human rights."