The Potential for Deliberative Democratic Civic Education

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Th e values of aggregative democracy have dominated much of civic education as its values refl ect the realities of the American political system. We argue that deliberative democratic theory better addresses the moral and epistemological demands of democracy when compared to aggregative democracy. It better attends to protecting citizens’ autonomy to participate in civic life and is able to accommodate the diverse experiences and viewpoints of the American public. We conclude by examining how deliberative democracy provides a new lens on civic education practices. It calls for attention to be given to the process of the exchange of reasons among students and also allows students to critically examine the current democratic process to determine in what ways it is or is not living up to deliberative democratic ideals.