This paper discusses that any legitimate use of ‘ideology’ in educational theory must stress: (1) Its general political and interest serving function; (2) its usual inarticulated and subtle character; and, (3) its tendency to be held dogmatically and defended irrationally and to involve attacks on the motives of opponents. This usage of ‘ideology’ frees it from the biases of both the liberal and the Marxist accounts. Consequently, the concept of ‘ideology’ can be a useful addition to educational theory. It can extend the critical attitude which is so central to the practice of education while preserving the commitment to objectivity which gives that attitude its point. It thus becomes a genuine tool to resolve educational problems and not a club with which to beat opponents into submission.