Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto” as Want to Read:
The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  195 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
A manifesto for a revolution in American public education, prepared by Mortimer J. Adler "on behalf of the members of The Paideia Group."
Paperback, 84 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Touchstone (first published 1982)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Paideia Proposal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Paideia Proposal

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. AdlerThe Trivium by Miriam JosephHow to Speak How to Listen by Mortimer J. AdlerHow to Think About the Great Ideas by Mortimer J. AdlerIntellect by Mortimer J. Adler
Best Liberal Arts Books
10th out of 60 books — 9 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsI Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan BradleyThe Help by Kathryn StockettMockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Books I Read in 2012
141st out of 540 books — 54 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 456)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 02, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
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. Teachers spending more time dealing with behavior and paperwork than engaging in quality teaching? Check. Parents concerned about their children's futures as a result of uneven schooling? Check. College officials frustrated by the amount of remediation incoming freshmen must undergo in order to succeed? Check again.

As a
David Withun
May 10, 2013 David Withun rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Adler confronts the many problems with the current American educational system head on and proposes practical alternatives. Among the topics which Adler discusses are the need to reform curriculum along a classical liberal arts line, the need for teachers to change their approach to one of Socratic dialogue, the need to create a real equality of opportunity in this nation, and the need to work to make children into creators, innovators, and thinkers. It is common to hear complaints about teacher ...more
Chris Johnson
Apr 29, 2014 Chris Johnson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
This book is fantastic. A treatise on how we should approach educating our children. I firmly believe that we should approach education in this way, with well educated teachers. I firmly believe that all students are educable, and this program is based on that fundamental ideal.
370.973 Adl
on behalf of the memebers of the paideia group. 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. It is the guide book doing education. This is a short book, only 84 pages.

I like the style of his writing, simple, terse, easy understood. I've read "Aristotle for everyone" which I recommend everyone to read. I am planning another one "How to read a book".

Paideia (py-dee-a) from the Greek p
Sep 13, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing
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.

In doing some research on education in the ancient world, I made a search of the word paideia on Amazon, and this was one of the books that came up. I've been a fan of Mortimer J. Adler for a few years now, and I was reminded of how I'd already intended to read this book sometime. So I bought a copy.

I'm glad I did. This crisp little print-on-d
Kirk Lowery
Jul 24, 2011 Kirk Lowery rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
A fantastic Utopian proposal, actually implemented in one of the Chicago school districts. But inevitably doomed to failure in our dumbed-down, committed to mediocrity, anti-intellectual, narcissistic, Oprah-fied culture.
Feb 18, 2010 Mia rated it it was amazing
One cannot have universal suffrage w/out universal schooling. Universal schooling must not merely be equal in quantity, but in quality. A distributist text, in its way. Simple arguments with radical ends.
Sep 03, 2008 Gregory rated it it was amazing
This is a really good book for Professional educators as well as those who have taken upon themselves the responsibility of educating their own children.
It has been added to me personal list of classics.
It addresses the purpose and aims of education, the different types of education, and the many issues facing institutionalized education.
He points out that although institutionalized education aims to make equal education available to all, the education system can never achieve that aim as not al
Rob Smith
Nov 18, 2013 Rob Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-reading, read-2013
I first read The Paideia Proposal about thirty years ago and generally agreed with it. Through recent discussions, I thought I'd re-read it through older eyes and find I still generally agree with it.

Adler’s proposal of introducing discussion in the classroom seems an essential addition to public education. That and focusing on educating young people without the extraneous mess found in all schools should be the main focus of a school. The magnet school concept (preparing young for work they may
Jul 17, 2015 Sean rated it really liked it
Useful for its argument that different types of teaching and learning are appropriate at different ages and for its moral call to educate all equally.

Somewhat dated, since NCLB gutted many vocational programs in its demand for higher math and ELA scores. Well in-line with E.D. Hirsch and his idea of "core knowledge."

No clear curriculum is proposed, nor is any means of assessment. Perhaps they appear in the follow-up: The Paedia Program
Steven Wedgeworth
Mar 11, 2013 Steven Wedgeworth rated it really liked it
Adler has a higher appreciation of the Progressive approach to education than I do, and this book is very much concerned with a public school vision. Aside from that, however, Adler provides some very helpful and reasonable suggestions for curriculum formation and teacher training. His 3-stage method of education is essentially the same as Sayers', with basic learning and memorization being followed by dialectic and finally poetic-Socratic interaction, but he declines to shoehorn that into the o ...more
Esther Gulli
Aug 30, 2016 Esther Gulli rated it it was ok
I found a lot to think about but I was also struck by how few people working in public schools were actually a part of this and how very few women and I suspect, people of color.
Aug 29, 2014 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Lots of good (and a few not-so-good) thoughts. My favorite was Adler's 3 columns of instruction (see here:
Written in the early 80s, Adler proposes bringing the liberal arts back into k-12 general education, with an emphasis on Socratic Discussion. In it's day I'm sure it was a novel proposal to the education crisis. I am so familiar with Socratic Discussion now given my participation at St. John's College over the years living in Santa Fe that reading it was too basic. I am a huge fan of Socratic method and thought it was important to go back and read this proposal which is now in effect in many cha ...more
Aug 11, 2009 Elaine rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
"The Paideia Proposal" is a must for anyone planning to teach. It discusses a bold progressive educational reform that focuses on a more holistic education that advocates critical thinking beginning in kindergarten. While somewhat idealistic, its success is evident in many educational institutions that have adopted the proposal and have been as successful, if not more so, than traditional schools.
Nov 18, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
You have to go into this realizing it is long on "what" and short on "how," but the substance of the proposal is pretty compelling. Adler's bloviations about democracy and egalitarianism would be better delivered by Jimmy Stewart against the background of an American flag as a fife softly pipes The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Chris Comis
Apr 12, 2010 Chris Comis rated it did not like it
Shelves: edubacation
This was one of the most horrendous books on education that I've read in a long time. This was a manifesto for classical humanism with a side of classical education. It just stank with democratic egalitarianism all over the place. Adler might be a brilliant man, but he definitely dropped the ball on this one.
Sep 15, 2013 Emily rated it liked it
Education will never be perfect, Adler outlines a lot of good ideas and you can easily see that his influence is still in education today. I don't agree with ALL of his suggestions, but I do agree with some of them.
Jul 12, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it
Adler proposes and pleas for -- quite logically, practically and eloquently -- education, in the original and truest sense of the word, especially in democratic societies in which it is absolutely essential.
Jul 23, 2012 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and concise book on how the education system should function for democracy to work. It was written in the 1980s but many of the flaws he points out in the school system still exist, sadly.
Jun 25, 2009 Travis rated it liked it
An interesting book that, ironically enough, seemed to justify a lot of my feelings concerning education. Five stars if it would have expounded more on discussion/questioning methods of column three.
Kelly Proulx
Jun 03, 2013 Kelly Proulx rated it liked it
A little bit idealistic for my taste, Adler makes some interesting points. His style is simple and straight forward, so his thought move along at a fast pace.
Feb 05, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the heels of learning of the Paideia Program, I sought more information. I picked this up to supplement my learning.
BookDB marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2016
Gregory marked it as to-read
Sep 05, 2016
Miriam added it
Sep 04, 2016
Leonardo marked it as to-read
Aug 30, 2016
Chloe marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
Amber marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2016
Israel Arellano
Israel Arellano marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What it Means to Be an Educated Human Being
  • Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know
  • The Great Conversation: The Substance Of A Liberal Education (Great Books Of The Western World, #1)
  • A Place Called School
  • Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms
  • The School and Society/The Child and the Curriculum
  • The Process of Education
  • The Seven Laws of Teaching
  • Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understandng Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States
  • The Idea of a University
  • Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education
  • Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin
  • The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition
  • The Aims of Education
  • Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Teaching as a Subversive Activity
  • Who Killed Homer: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom
  • Ideology and Curriculum
Mortimer Jerome Adler was an American educator, philosopher, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked with Aristotelian and Thomistic thought. He lived for the longest stretches in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo. He worked for Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Encyclopædia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research.

Adler was born in N
More about Mortimer J. Adler...

Share This Book