In this article, we first suggest that contemporary school policies and practices represent a utopia-gone-wrong. In striving for an unattainable educational utopia"”that is, all students will be proficient in math and reading by 2014"”current polices and their resulting practices have brought a classic dystopian turn"”the dehumanization of students, teachers, and administrators. We then argue that such a turn can best be seen and then potentially stopped via a complete dystopian theory of education grounded in John Dewey's radical aesthetics. In utilizing Dewey's aesthetic theory as a lens of analysis, we argue that this turn toward dystopia is resulting in an increasingly numbing, anaesthetic educational experience at best; and a dehumanizing, violent educational experience at worst. Finally, we briefly ponder an antidote for our dystopian malaise: human love.


Reading, Foundations and Technology

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Recommended Citation

Heybach, Jessica A., and Eric C. Sheffield. "Dystopian Schools: Recovering Dewey's Radical Aesthetics in an Age of Utopia-Gone-Wrong." Education and Culture 30, no. 1 (2014): 79-94.

Journal Title

Education and Culture