The Purposes of Education in American Democracy

By Educational Policies Commission | Go to book overview

III.
THE OBJECTIVES OF EDUCATION:
A GENERAL REVIEW

There is only one subject-matter for education, and that is Life in all its manifestations. Instead of this single unity, we offer children--Algebra, from which nothing follows; Geometry, from which nothing follows; Science, from which nothing follows; History, from which nothing follows; a couple of Languages, never mastered; and lastly, most dreary of all, Literature, represented by plays of Shakespeare, with philological notes and short analyses of plot and character to be in substance committed to memory. Can such a list be said to represent Life, as it is known in the midst of the living of it? The best that can be said of it is, that it is a rapid table of contents which a Deity might run over in his mind while he was thinking of creating a world, and had not yet determined how to put it together. . . . --ALFRED N. WHITEHEAD.


The Purposes of Education Have Received the Attention of Leaders in Thought and Action.

What is education to accomplish? What changes in human conduct should the schools seek to bring to pass? Is growth or achievement the fundamental aim of education? Should the schools render first loyalty to the promotion of individual welfare or to the general social improvement? Should schools seek primarily to adjust students to the conditions of life as it is or to impel them to improve these conditions? Should organized education emphasize ideals and attitudes or facts and skills? Should the public

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