Sarah Stitzlein
University of Cincinnati
One central aspect of a healthy democracy is the practice of democratic dissent. For the first time in many years, dissent is being widely practiced in town hall meetings and on street corners across the United States. Despite this presence, dissent is often suppressed or omitted in the prescribed, tested, hidden, and external curriculum of US schools. This article calls for a realignment of these aspects of curriculum with both a guiding vision of ideal democracy and a realistic interpretation of democracy as it is currently invoked in order to maximize this historic moment and work toward more robust democracy as a whole. This article will define dissent, show why it matters for healthy democracy, describe its role in the conscious social reproduction of citizens, reveal implications of the current more consensus-oriented forms of democracy portrayed in US schools, and call for new work on consensus and dissent in schools given changes in the present environment.
Keywords critical theory  democratic education  hidden curriculum
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