Term of Award

Spring 2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

William M. Reynolds

Committee Member 1

John A. Weaver

Committee Member 2

Marla Morris

Committee Member 3

Kemp Mabry

Committee Member 3 Email



This work is a theoretical and historical study of democracy as it relates to democratic educational practices and explores the implications that democratic reform in education has the potential to diminish inequity and social injustice in society. The study presents an intense review of the development of democracy from Plato to the present day. The progressive principles for democracy of the Social Reconstructionists and Critical Theorists form the theoretical framework for the dissertation and a Yardstick of Democracy is developed that draws upon the tenets of John Dewey, George S. Counts, Jane Addams, Paulo Freire, and Michael Apple. Included in the study is a concentrated review of standards-based education testing, and the charter school movement in America. A comparison to the Yardstick provides evidence that many of the programs of contemporary American education are in conflict with basic progressive democratic principles.

Research Data and Supplementary Material