Democratic Education and Queer Theory in Public Schools
An underlying assumption of democracy and democratic education is that those infl uenced by curriculum have a voice in that curriculum (Apple & Beane, 2007; Camicia, 2009). Habermas (1994) writes, “A correctly understood theory of rights requires a politics of recognition that protects the integrity of the individual in the life contexts in which his or her identity is formed” (p. 113). This recognition is necessarily a “complicated conversation” around curriculum (Pinar, 2011, p. 144), but without these conversations, schools are bound to maintain and construct social inequalities. Curriculum is a refl ection of a system that regulates what knowledge is deemed valuable and what knowledge is not (Apple, 2004). When voices and perspectives are excluded from curriculum, democratic education suffers. In this chapter, I use concepts in critical democratic and queer theories as rationales for increasing the intelligibility or recognition of perspectives that are often excluded from curriculum. This chapter provides rationales for LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, as well as a framework for interpreting the cases of California and Utah.