What’s the point of education? What should anyone truly learn, why, and how? Who gets to attend school? Is it a right, a privilege, a duty, an investment, or a form of discipline? Do schools level the playing field or entrench inequalities? Should they fashion workers, citizens, or individuals? Moving from France to the US, and from the Enlightenment to the present, we look at the vexed but crucial relationship between education and democracy in novels, films, essays, and philosophy, examining both the emancipatory and repressive potential of modern schooling. Topics include: Brown, class, meritocracy, testing, and alternative pedagogies.