The democratic nature of American public schools in terms of democratic principles

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to elucidate the democratic nature of American public schools in terms of democratic principles of freedom, equality, and equity through historical, sociological, conceptual, and educational examinations. Chapter 2 explores, through a salient and recurring phenomenon of segregation, how the democratic-capitalistic matrix of American public schools has been constructed in terms of both meritocratic and egalitarian policies. To scrutinize the substantive nature of democratic-capitalistic society, in Chapter 3, social theories proposed by Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, and Freud are examined in terms of the nature of human existence in the democratic-capitalistic society and then, its mode of existence is analyzed in light of the metaphors, the Möbius strip and the Klein bottle. The object of Chapter 4 is to clarify the conceptual and substantive relationship between freedom and equality based on equity as balance point. In Chapter 5, educational issues concerning the nature of democratic existence are dealt with in terms of educational quality, while clarifying the paradoxical nature of democratic-educational conceptions of excellence and knowledge in the public school system. Further, a reconsideration of the Brown decision in Chapter 6 helps penetrate how democratic existence can be substantialized in American public schools under the capitalistic-democratic society, confirming a new version of educational paradigm.

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