This work analyzes the ideas of traditional and non-traditional philosophers from Plato to Paulo Freire regarding the contribution of education to the creation of a democratic society. Each section is organized around an important theme (for example, whose schools transmit in a multicultural society?). The book is organized around the twin themes of a) the purpose(s) of education and b) power and control of education. Each section examines a major issue related to these themes. Since these two broad themes (and related issues) run through various courses, the book has relevance up and down the teacher education curriculum. Each section analyzes arguments regarding a perennial issue in education: Part 1 examines how education is used to maintain authoritarian and democratic governments; Part 2 explores arguments against government control of education; Part 3 analyzes arguments regarding the type of culture that schools should transmit; Part 4 covers arguments regarding the type of education women should receive; and Part 5 examines arguements regarding the political role of education in a global economy.
The book is organized around the work of real theorists (past and present) and shows what they had to say about some perennial issue. Thus, while it does not involve students in doing philosophy, it should give them a feel for the real point of philosophy - the search for plausible answers to important questions.