Using Dewey's Conception of Democracy to Problematize the Notion of Disability in Public Education
Ricky Dale Mullins
Eastern Kentucky University, United States
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democratic education, citizenship, special education, civic education, social foundations

How to Cite

Mullins, R. (2019). Using Dewey’s Conception of Democracy to Problematize the Notion of Disability in Public Education. Journal of Culture and Values in Education, 2(1), 1-17.


In this paper I examine ways in which students with disabilities have the capacity to be full, contributing citizens within a participatory, communicative, and pluralistic democracy. In many instances, institutions such as schools provide barriers that disallow and dissuade students with disabilities from full participation in society and their education, which  prevents them from becoming co-creators of their educational experience. I argue that in a Deweyan democracy, all students must have not just the right, but be allowed to grow in their capacity to develop into fully participating, contributing citizens. My hope is that by situating disability and special education within the Deweyan democratic discourse it will be possible to render that discourse more genuinely inclusive of all students, so that the needs of all are met and the unique contributions of each become a part of the educational process.

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