Dewey: Synthesis Essay

861 words - 4 pages

In Democracy and Education, John Dewey, described as the father of experience-derived education, gave his opinion of how democracy and education should interact in order to create a sound democratic society. He wrote of how a democracy cannot flourish if education is tuned for the masses or if only a select few can get higher education. He also discussed how the “three R’s” (reading, writing, and arithmetic) are faulty, and how the curriculum must help students develop the ability to tackle social issues in the “real world.” However, high schools today are not preparing citizens to achieve Dewey’s vision; rather, they are moving farther away from it.
In today’s high schools, education is ...view middle of the document...

According to a report by Floyd Norris, U.S. students have fallen terribly behind in reading and math- they are currently ranked 18th in reading and 28th in math out of 40 ranked countries. The major problem is that students cannot deal with the questions presented to them- questions they will confront as citizens. The cause of this problem is due to the fact that students are taught by rote learning (the three R’s); the problem is also due to the failure of educators to emphasize more practical aspects of math (Source 5). Students are not being taught in a manner that genuinely allows them to realize democratic ideals, contributing to the inability of high schools to prepare citizens to reach Dewey’s vision.
Perhaps the greatest issue in high schools today is that the curriculum does not present situations where students learn to develop social insight and interest. According to Leon Botstein, it is clear that students arrive at college with “shallow and scattered educations, ill-prepared to learn” and it is due to the fault of high schools. Students are not being taught about their history, their social condition, or themselves- all of which are essential to living in an egalitarian society (Source 3). In the world we live in today, the curriculum lacks liberal arts, and reasonably, the educational system needs an injection of humanities to help orient students to challenge and make them think through their views and opinions; it can aid them in crossing social boundaries and accomplishing...

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