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According to James Hoffman Recent attempts to reform schools in the US have been decidedly undemocratic in nature and spirit The state has now mandated standardized testing plans curriculum frameworks for reading and language arts testing programs for students these programs are having a direct impact on the curriculum for teacher education This is not the answer This is not the answer if this continues student will drop out of school an increasing numbers of minorities will simply give up and stop attending The wave of student apathy toward schools will continue to grow Democracy in schools will die Hoffman Teachers and students are essential to keeping democratic education in the classroom An empowering educational experience in the classroom must have open dialog and debate there must be a connection between teacher and material that is taught and a necessity to take a step away form centralized teaching and standardized testing A democracy can be defined as a government by the people exercised either directly or through elected representatives Yet it must be defined as it applies to the classroom If looking at this definition one may think that within each class the students have full say about how that class is run and what is actually done each day in that class Or does it mean that there is an elected body of students who determine the class structure Does it mean that the teacher has no control over what is or isnt taught in that classroom Absolutely not Democracy in the classroom can mean many things It means creating a learning environment in which students are participants in which all positions are equally respected without necessarily being equally valued and where the evaluation of varying positions takes place through critical informed and knowledgeable dialogue As John Dewey suggested early in the last century democracy is not simply a matter of institutional representations and periodic participation in such acts as voting but thrives within
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