The aim of the paper is to present changes undergone by the Polish education system after the accession to the European Union. In the article the changes are collated together with the main and distinctive trends which had existed in Europe before the accession and the ones that were introduced subsequently. The article shows that the tendency to unify the member states’ education systems is non-existent in the European Union. It also points out that the importance attached to education by the EU member states has not been as considerable as the importance given to economy. The paper is divided into two main parts. The main objective of the first part is to describe the decision-making process in the member states (as far as the common education policy is concerned) and its result, which was the report stating that education was considered to be a peculiar area of social politics and as such required separate arrangements and decisions. Therefore, there are neither specific procedures nor integration requirements for the associated and associating countries. However, as far as Poland is concerned, during the accession process the country was obliged to meet the expected standards, in particular the standards in the reform of the education structure and curriculum. The second part of the paper comprises the analysis of Polish activity in the following fields:
–– lowering the age of the compulsory education commencement,
–– reforming the structure of the education system and curriculum,
–– practising teaching profession.
The article further elaborates at length on the significant factor in the process of democratization of education, which is parents’ involvement in the functioning of a school.