One of the most persistent criticisms of John Dewey is his failure to provide definite ends for education. This essay reconstructs Dewey’s educational thought to provide more guidance on the nature of educational ends. Rather than impose external ends and a rigid curriculum, Dewey provides evaluative criteria so that citizens themselves can assess the educational and democratic value of any practice, curricula or institution. The political implications of this position are profound. It pushes away from expert driven models of educational authority and towards empirically grounded deliberative processes to guide educational practice and policy.

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