Democratic Communities and Business/Education “Partnerships” in Secondary Education

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Democratic ideals of equality, freedom, and common problem-solving help ensure that schools are governed as communities, in Dewey's sense of the term, wherein all members share in defining the purposes and processes of the group. In this paper, qualitative case study data of a business–public school partnership is examined in order to describe, analyze, and evaluate this partnership based upon democratic criteria established by Deweyan pragmatism. The analysis of the business/education partnership enables educators to better understand the potential for, and inhibitors of, the kind of genuine social growth among school and corporate partners that can serve public agendas rather than private profits.

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