Defining Education Ideology

Defining Education Ideology

A Chapter by Debbie Barry

An essay about educational ideologies. Written for EDU 108: Introduction to Policy & Education.


Defining Education Ideology

November 24, 2009


Based on the results of Activity 1 on page 128 of the text (Fowler, 2009), I have no clear image of exactly which one ideology I most agree with, but i have a good idea of which ideologies I do not agree with and which three ideologies I believe I agree with.

I ranked the eight values listed in the activity thus:








Economic growth.

The activity directed me to group my first four qualities, and to use those to determine which ideology I lean toward.  Interestingly, the only one of the eight ideologies which favors two of my top four values is Right-Wing Extremism, of which Fowler (2009) says: “they are likely to blame social problems on racial, religious, or ethnic minority groups, often believing that these groups are conspiring to destroy the way of life they hold dear” (127).  I hesitate to align myself with an ideology that includes “Timothy McVeigh… [,] the Ku Klux Klan… [,] the Aryan Nation, the Posse Comitatus, and various militias” (Fowler, 2009, 127), but I cannot deny that I do support some of the positions described in the text, such as: “severely controlling immigration… and reducing the power of the government” (Fowler, 2009, 127).  My recent concerns about and dislike for public schools is also in alignment with Right-Wing Extremism.

In analyzing the results of the activity, I decided to reject Right-Wing Extremism because of its strong and well-known association with violent action, and because, although I have serious issues with the government at this point, I do not hate the government.  Instead, I identified Religious Conservatism, New Politics Liberalism, and Christian Democracy as the major components of my personal ideology.

Religious Conservatism “most emphasize[s] … order” (Fowler, 2009, 124), which is the fourth value in my list.  Fowler (2009) states that “Christians must work through the political system to restore traditional values” (124).  I feel strongly that traditional family values are important, and that a return to traditional values would be beneficial to our nation, but I stop short of believing that the government should legislate values.  I also support “parents’ right to raise their children without interference … and oppose most sex- and drug-education programs” (Fowler, 2009, 124), which are identified as features of Religious Conservatism.

New Politics Liberalism “tend[s] to believe that many, perhaps most, of the problems in U.S. society result from a history of discrimination and oppression based on factors beyond individual control” (Fowler, 2009, 125).  Where Religious Conservatism emphasizes order, New Politics Liberalism emphasizes equality and Fraternity (Fowler, 2009, 124-125).  Fraternity is among the top four values on my list, but I do not subscribe to the victim attitude inherent in this ideology.  “In education policy, new politics liberals advocate equal access to quality education for all children” (Fowler, 2009, 125), which I strongly agree with.  However, while I do support equal educational opportunity, I do not support the sort of educational equality in which all children are expected to obtain equal results in education.  Instead, I support ability grouping in education in an effort to provide every student an equal opportunity to reach his or her highest potential.

Christian Democracy, which emphasizes fraternity and equality, just like New Politics Liberalism,

object[s] to business conservatism on the grounds that it is based on a cynical view of human nature … believe[s] that democratic leaders should seek to build a humane and just society in which everyone’s basic needs are met, yet people are free to develop their full potential without undue interference from either government or employees … [and] advocate[s] full political democracy, a mixed economy, a moderate welfare state, and participative governance structures in both the private and public sectors.  (Fowler, 2009, 128)

This is the one ideology with which I most identify, although it is not quite a full representation of my own education ideology.

My personal education ideology is a mixture of the traditional values of Religious Conservatism, the equal educational opportunity of New Politics Liberalism, and the “humane and just society [and] moderate welfare state” (Fowler, 2009, 128) of Christian Democracy.  It appears that this makes me generally liberalist and strongly religious with an emphasis on Christianity.  I agree with this assessment, although there is certainly a conservative sub-stratum to my personal ideology.



Fowler, F.C. (2009). Policy Studies for Educational Leaders: An Introduction (3rd ed). Boston:    Allyn & Bacon.

© 2017 Debbie Barry

Author's Note

Debbie Barry
Initial reactions and constructive criticism welcome.

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Added on November 10, 2017
Last Updated on November 10, 2017
Tags: essay, education, Liberty, Quality, Fraternity, Order, Individualism, Equality, Efficiency, Economic growth, educational ideology

A Journey through My College Papers


Debbie Barry
Debbie Barry

Clarkston, MI

I live with my husband in southeastern Michigan with our two cats, Mister and Goblin. We enjoy exploring history through French and Indian War re-enactment and through medieval re-enactment in the So.. more..