Requirements for a Democratic Education Organization

Studies in Philosophy and Education 18 (1):107-119 (1999)
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What makes a democratic school democratic? This question is answered using the example of the Swiss education system; the focus, however, is not on the usual pedagogic perspective of teaching democracy, but on the democratic organization of the education system. The discussion concentrates on two basic requirements for a democratic education organization: on the one hand, education for all under the equal rights premise calls for the definition of an educational minimum for all students. At the same time, defining this minimum presupposes selection among the students. For part of the students are -- through the use of public funds -- being educated beyond the minimum; a situation which needs to be democratically legitimized. The selection is based on academic performance; as yet, a valuable alternative to this type of selection does not exist. On the other hand, it is essential in a democratic education organization that the authorities put in charge of certain responsibilities are democratically legitimized and controlled. The same applies to newly created authorities, such as principalships or autonomous schools, the introduction of which has been demanded repeatedly for some time now



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