Is it possible to for individuals, and by implication, for society as a whole to flourish in our modern world? Common ground seems unstable at best—yet lacking a shared vision, how can we address issues or economic injustice, alienated labor, environmental destruction, political dysfunction, inadequate health care, violence, and intolerance?
That vision should include helping every individual develop as a fully-formed person, while situating that development in the context of helping the society thrive as well. Education here is seen as occurring in formal sites such as schools and universities, but also in libraries, museums, workplaces, online, and in our daily interactions in the social and natural world.
Drawing upon the work of pragmatist philosophy and progressive education, democratic education implies fostering productive methods of thinking and problem-solving, appreciation of music, art, and literature, healthy social attitudes and sensitivity to others, and a consistent philosophy of life. It further implies the development of a critical, socially-engaged intelligence, in which individual learning is embedded in active participation in community life.