The Philosophy of Social Segregation in Israel's Democratic Schools

Philosophy Study 3 (11):1042 – 1050 (2013)
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Democratic private schools in Israel are a part of the neo-liberal discourse. They champion the dialogic philosophy associated with its most prominent advocates—Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas—together with Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy, the humanistic psychology propounded by Carl Rogers, Nel Noddings’s pedagogy of care and concern, and even Gadamer’s integrative hermeneutic perspective. Democratic schools form one of the greatest challenges to State education and most vocal and active critique of the focus conservative education places on exams and achievement. This article describes the dual discourse connected to the schools. The first is the inner dialogical, which is devoted to student freedom and progress, the child being placed at the center. The second is the exterior discourse, which represents the school as a place of counter-education that provides personal and group development and comprises a site of liberty and choice. The schools in Israel are described as test case and indicating the existence of a sophisticated form of deception via the use of alluring terminology. The democratic private schools should be recognized for what they really are—agents of commodification that undermine democracy rather than enhance it.

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