Education and the Struggle for Democracy
During the past decade there has been a series of radical changes to the educational system of England and Wales. This book argues that any serious study of these changes has to engage with complex questions about the role of education in a modern liberal democracy. Were these educational changes informed by the needs and aspirations of a democratic society? To what extent will they promote democratic values and ideals? These questions can only be adequately addressed by making explicit the political ideas and the underlying philosophical principles that have together shaped the English educational system. To this end, the book provides a selective history of English education which exposes the connections between decisive periods of educational change and the intellectual and political climate in which it occurred. It also connects the educational policies of the 1980s and 90s to the political ideas of the New Right in order to show how they are part of a broader political strategy aimed at reversing the democratic advances achieved through the intellectual and political struggles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book proposes that a democratic educational vision can only effectively be advanced by renewing the 'struggle for democracy' - the historical struggle to create forms of education which will empower all citizens to participate in an open, pluralistic and democratic society.