This paper explores the significance of Dewey’s Democracy and Education for “21st-century education,” a term used by proponents of curricular standardization and digital ubiquity in classrooms. Though these domains have distinct advocacy groups, they often share similar assumptions about the primary purposes of schooling as career preparation. In Democracy and Education, Dewey argues for a broader purpose of education—that of cultivating a social spirit in students. Because of contemporary dispositional challenges in the broader society, Dewey’s perspective offers a timely and relevant way to reconceptualize the purposes of schooling in ways that can effectively address current social challenges.

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