Traditionally, education can define as formal instruction in a school setting. However, the
term education constitutes a variety of factors. Education refers to the acquisition of knowledge,
and knowledge can be acquired in various ways. Therefore, education can either take place in
school or through fieldwork training. Additionally, anyone can choose to educate himself or
herself. Based on Benjamin Franklin Autobiography, he dropped out of school because of the
cost of school fees. Benjamin Franklin taught himself, including foreign languages. According to
Benjamin Franklin, education was so important that he had to teach himself (Benson et al. 2007).
The Role of Education in a Democratic Society
According to Rothstein and Jacobsen (2006), the main objective of education in a
democratic society is to teach learners values about fairness, cooperation, and justice. These
values are important in improving the functioning of democracy in a given country. Benjamin
Franklin believed that other cultures were important, and therefore there was a need to learn
about these cultures. He taught himself these cultures to appreciate them. In a democratic
society, there diverse people from various backgrounds. In a democracy, there is a need to
respect people's choices and living with them without judging their culture.
Secondly, education is important for the economic development of any society. Through
education, knowledge is passed from one generation to another. It is also through education that
new knowledge is generated. More and more discoveries are being made in different fields.
These discoveries cannot be possible without education. It is through education that we
understand how different systems work. Various researches are carried out with various guidance
BOOK REVIEW 3
in education that lead to discoveries that are changing lives. To Benjamin Franklin, Education
was necessary that he had to acquire it by various means (Harkavy, 2006).
In a democratic society, education should not be used to define the worth of anyone.
Formal education should not be imposed on anyone. It is a matter of choice for individuals. One
can choose to acquire formal education or acquire it by other means. People can still be smart in
other ways. Education should not be used to drive a wedge between people but to improve the
quality of life and advance virtues in society. Education should be used to advance the delivery
of quality service (Wood, 2005).
In a democratic society, education should be used as a tool that advances human rights. It
is important to respect human rights. Benjamin franklin used education to help others because He
realized that education could be used as an entry to the society. In a society where racism was
very high, Benjamin franklin used his knowledge of social fabrics and understanding to help
black Americans. Through education, he always worked towards creating institutions that will
promote peaceful co-existence between Americans (Wood, 2005).
In a democratic society, education is important in advancing civic knowledge. For a
society to function as democratic, civic knowledge and citizenry are very important. The idea
behind public schools is to promote citizenry and civic education (Wood, 2005). The curriculum
is formulated so that students can acquire knowledge and skills that will enable them to engage
in democratic processes. Civic education is important because democracy requires that students
get to learn facts about civics and explore ideals of democracy. Through education, students can,
therefore, form a connection with concepts of democracy and to become responsible citizens.
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If students learn to become good citizens, then they will contribute to the growth and
improvement of democracy in society. In a civic society with knowledgeable citizens, one can
avoid greed, apathy, ignorance, and abuse of power. Also, education advances civic knowledge
as it enables citizens to have critical thinking skills that are important in solving certain societal
problems. In any democratic society, the power to make decisions lies with the citizens. It is
important for citizens to constantly evaluate their position, improving their decisions, and
defending their stands (Harkavy, 2006).
Education can be described as the soul of any democratic society. Ideologies that back
the development of states all resulted from education. In societies where citizens are democratic
conscious, any kind of oppression will result in civil unrest. Becoming democratically conscious
is only possible through education. Through education, future generations will be able to
understand their right and fight for their rights. Education promotes the values of democracy:
equality, liberty, justice, cooperation, and dignity for human beings.
BOOK REVIEW 5
Benson, L., Harkavy, I.R., and Puckett, J.L., 2007. Dewey's Dream: Universities and
democracies in an age of education reform: Civil society, public schools, and democratic
citizenship. Temple University Press.
Harkavy, I., 2006. The role of universities in advancing citizenship and social justice in the 21st
century. Education, citizenship, and social justice, 1(1), pp.5-37.
Rothstein, R., and Jacobsen, R., 2006. The goals of education. Phi Delta Kappan, 88(4), pp.264-
Wood, G.S., 2005. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. Penguin.