A few decades ago democratic education became popular. The basic idea was that the school was run collectively. Teachers and students agreed on what to do together. Classes were informal. Pretty much everything was self-directed. The disadvantage is that most kids aren’t really mature enough to succeed without any structure.
It's interesting, but striking elements of Dewey's progressivism Sadbury's democratic education are prominent parts of American education at this time. You need really look no further than our current educational system to see some, perhaps all, of the demerits of democratic education. This is not a hypothetical issue; this is an actual issue: This is what has happened, not what may happen. Some of these demerits are:
- students are poorly educated lacking basic foundational knowledge in key subjects
- moral behavior on campuses has hit shocking levels including overt sexuality and murder
- competitiveness has soared unchecked opening doors for unbridled bullying, physical beatings and bullying related suicides
- there is a greater divide between those adhering to social moral norms and those rejecting them (a divide that replaced a cooperative acceptance)
- students are far less articulate and far more egotistical and egocentric
- students are far more selfishly materialistic and far less materialistically content
I had no clue that this term existed. Curious, I researched it. From what I found, the term was coined during the Reagan Administration. Reading through the defining article, it seems that Democratic Education could be a good thing (based upon the idea that students become far more responsible for their education). That said, I do see two overwhelming problems. First, many students may not take being in charge of their education seriously and try to weaken the academic philosophies. Second, as with many words, the term democracy means different things for different people.
As some see in Democratic governments, problems arise quickly. Therefore, I would suggest that the education community faces enough problems. Giving away too much of the power to those who are supposed to benefit from it would be detrimental.