The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto

The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto

A manifesto for a revolution in American public education, prepared by Mortimer J. Adler "on behalf of the members of The Paideia Group."

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Adler confronts the many problems with the current American educational system head on and proposes practical alternatives.

A parte mais interessante do manifesto é a descrição das três dimensões da educação, a obtenção de conhecimentos organizados, o desenvolvimento de habilidades intelectuais e a ampliação do entendimento.

Adler believes that in order to have a fully functioning democratic society ALL CHILDREN, regardless of home situation, color, creed, or socioeconomic status, are entitled...yes, ENTITLED to the best education possible. Additionally, it is *key* to a functioning democracy, because "democracy without education becomes a mobocracy." As of 1982, he felt that there was still a large class of children, who from the beginning, are relegated to be "workers" who do not need to be "educated." This, he believes, is a huge miscarriage of justice for a civil and advanced society. He also believes pre-school education to be vital to better prepare children who come from homes where they may be less prepared, and intense remediation for any child who might need it--no matter the cost, time, or effort, because as members of the human species every single individual is innately valuable and every single person should have EQUAL access to a shot at happiness.

The Paideia Proposal was written in 1982, the year after I was born, yet so much of what Mortimer Adler finds fault with in regards to modern education still sadly exists today. For this is the goal of The Paideia Proposal -- to develop a system of education that nurtures all children to be lifelong learners and intelligent thinkers while avoiding a system of education that views students as unequal and places them on different life "tracks" as a result.

My comments were that our contemporary education system fails to effectively provide for the sort of egalitarian democracy that we claim to want as a society and that if we truly wanted to be a republic that we would focus on the need for all students in our educational system to grow up with the capacity for the acquisition of knowledge and the critical examination of the claims of media and culture that often would not bear scrutiny. The word Paideia itself comes from the Greek root pedo related to pedagogy (the teaching of children) and pediatrics (medicine with a focus on children), and in the context of this book and in the larger body of writing by its author the word paideia refers to the common knowledge of a wide variety of fields that should be the possession of every child growing up in the United States of America. After that comes a section on the essentials of basic schooling which require the same objectives and course of study for all, as well as discussions on the need to overcome initial impediments and deal with individual differences in a way that does not threaten the egalitarian aims of a common education system. The third section looks at teaching and learning, setting the roles and training needed for teachers and principals and also examining the heart of the Paideia proposal in the establishment of a well-structured tripartite structure for education that aims at three goals for students: the acquisition of information or organized knowledge, the development of intellectual skills like speaking, writing, and calculating, and the enlargement of understanding through discussion and conversation. To be sure, this total absence of moral education was likely due at least in part to the fact that the manifesto wishes to reform public education in a culture that shows no interest in allowing the state to be governed by godly morality, but that does not make this proposal any less ineffectual in light of the most threatening aspects of our contemporary cultural malaise.

This short manifesto gives a cogent overview of what public schooling should be setting out to achieve, the rationale for doing so, and how to get started. This crisp little print-on-demand paperback makes a powerful and impassioned case for the urgent need of reform in the American public-school system (the book was published in 1982). The argument is presented in four parts: the role of education in a democracy what form public schooling should take what are the best ways to learn and to teach what form postsecondary education should take First of all: why paideia? As Adler says near the top of chapter 1: Not until this century have we undertaken to give twelve years of schooling to all our children. As Adler puts it:Here then are the three common callings to which all our children are destined: to earn a living in an intelligent and responsible fashion, to function as intelligent and responsible citizens, and to make both of these things serve the purpose of leading intelligent and responsible lives--to enjoy as fully as possible all the goods that make a human life as good as it can be. The book goes on to provide an overview of how this is to be achieved. No. In 2 pages at the end of the book, the author provides 10 steps that can be taken by any school or any school district at any time to start walking the walk of liberal education. Those who care enough about this will start taking action, and this book provides both a vision statement and a mission statement for revolution, as well as some practical steps.

It is followed by Paideia Program My summary: if it is not a classical education book, but at least it theorize all important aspects of educations. Schooling, basic or advanced, that does not prepare the individual for further learning has failed, no matter what else it succeeds in doing. It is a process of discovery, in which th student is the main agent, not the teachers. Learning by discovery can occur without help, but only geniuses can educate themselves without the help of teachers. For most students, learning by discovery must be aided. That is where teachers come in - as aids in the process of learning by discovery, not as knowers who attempt to put the knowledge they have in their minds into the minds of their pupils.

He worked for Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Encyclopædia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research. While at Columbia University, Adler wrote his first book: Dialectic, published in 1927. In 1930 Robert Hutchins, the newly appointed president of the University of Chicago, whom Adler had befriended some years earlier, arranged for Chicagos law school to hire him as a professor of the philosophy of law; the philosophers at Chicago (who included James H. Adler founded and served as director of the Institute for Philosophical Research in 1952. He introduced the Paideia Proposal which resulted in his founding the Paideia Program, a grade-school curriculum centered around guided reading and discussion of difficult works (as judged for each grade). Adler long strove to bring philosophy to the masses, and some of his works (such as How to Read a Book) became popular bestsellers.

  • Paideia

  • English

  • Education

  • Rating: 3.80
  • Pages: 84
  • Publish Date: October 1st 1998 by Touchstone
  • Isbn10: 0684841886
  • Isbn13: 9780684841885