Against Democratic Education

MARK PENNINGTON
SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY AND POLICY 31.1 (2014): 1-35

Abstract: Critics of educational markets and parental choice argue that the social aspect of education is best reflected when citizens are able collectively to shape it provision though a process of public reasoning, and when instruction in the norms that sustain such reasoning are part of the curriculum. These requirements are thought to imply that the delivery, funding, and regulation of primary and secondary education should be subject to extensive democratic control. This essay takes issue with these claims. It is argued that educational markets are central to the enlargement of public reasoning, properly understood. In addition, it it claimed that the norms required to maintain this reasoning may be more likely to arise in a context where the state has little, if any, role in the education of its citizens.