The word democracy comes from the Greek words "demos", meaning people, and "kratos" meaning power; so democracy can be thought of as "power of the people": a way of governing which depends on the will of the people. Democracy derives its moral strength and popular appeal from two key principles:Equality and Individual autonomy.
Schools should be viewed not only as institutions that impart certain knowledge and skills to students, but also as environments that socialize them. Socializing students to achieve the aim of the current debates among educators, politicians, and business leaders. Therefore, the devotion of democracy to education is a familiar fact. A government resting upon popular suffrage cannot be successful unless those who elect and who obey their governors are educated.
According to Dewey’s assumption the aims of education should be oriented towards preparing young people to be full and active participants in all aspects of democratic life.
The skills and dispositions needed to actively participate in all aspects of democratic life include: the ability to think critically, a sense of efficacy, a commitment to compassionate action, and a desire to actively participate in political life by engaging in local decision-making processes,be able to read, write and do arithmetic.
Schools that best teach students the skills to participate actively in democracy are themselves institutions that reflect democratic principles not only in word, but also in deed. There are some curriculums that focus on character, centering on the kinds of relationships the students form with their peers, teachers, school leaders, community members and the school culture as a whole.
Institutional structures,whether in the workplace, family, classroom, or school which gives young people the opportunity to participate in decision-making about meaningful issues can have an impact on their sense of responsibility, their ability to take a collective perspective, their social behavior, their understanding of democratic values and processes, and their personal and political efficacy
Historically, schools have been governed democratically through the roles and responsibilities given to elected school boards. However, to varying degrees, authority has been given to appointed and hired professional educators to make decisions concerning the operation of schools. The extent to which teachers, parents, students and individual community members have a voice in decision-making also varies. No matter how decisions are made, students can learn about democracy through the ways that decisions are made in their schools.
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