The Paideia Proposal was created by Mortimer J. Adler to overcome elitism in the school system and replace it with a true democratic system. The Paideia Proposal aims to improve the quality of schools in America and to make education available to all students (Adler, 1984). To meet student individual needs educators need to adjust their instructional teaching strategies (Nolen, 2003). Educators need to be aware of how their students learn and how to meet the needs of their students. The potential benefits of using the Paideia Proposal in schools is to meet the purpose of education, understand students’ learning styles, and use instructional elements to meet those needs of student’s.
There have been many ideas on what is the purpose of education, which include the following ideas: “citizenship training, equality of economic opportunity, and reduction of crime” (Spring, 2009, p. 5). The Paideia principles states that education should prepare all students “to earn a decent livelihood, to be a good citizen of the nation and the world, and to make a good life for one’s self” (Roberts & Billings, 1999, p. 4). Spring (2009) writes that our country has had many transitions of goals for education in public schools from the Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge proposed in 1779 to the No Child Left Behind Act proposed in 2001. In 1982, Mortimer J. Adler’s Paideia Proposal used democracy to promote education by ensuring that the educational system allows young men and women an equal opportunity to an education and that they be given the same quality of education (Adler, 1984). The Paideia Proposal is a tool that educators could use to move towards the idea of a true democratic system in public schools.
In science, tests and computations to problems are runs as though the problems are in a vacuum, fixed laws apply and no other real world variables exist in order to simplify the problem. This is how students are viewed today with all the standardized tests that only measure what is expected of them, instead of “measuring student’ progress against real-world standards” (Littky, 2004, p. xvi). Education is more than just giving young men and women the knowledge to pass standardized tests and measuring their ability to answer the questions correctly. It is more than categorizing students who pass the test as successful students and those who do not pass as unsuccessful students. A Paideia Principle states that student’s achievement should be evaluated based on that student’s individual competencies. As educators we need to find a balance between preparing students for what they will face after graduation and preparing students to meet standardized test requirements.
The purpose of education is giving our young men and women the ability to accomplish their goals for building their future. We want them to leave our classrooms with a sense of self-worth and the ability to have inner peace with the path they take. We can...