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Dewey: Synthesis Essay

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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 no longer equal for all. More often than not, it is seen that the selection of subject matter of instruction has utilitarian ends conceived for the masses, and higher education is only available for a select few. In fact, Horace Mann wrote that there exists two theories- the European theory and the Massachusetts theory. The European theory describes men being divided into classes (only some have the luxury to not work), while the Massachusetts theory states that all are to have an equal chance for earning. Unfortunately, the hope of living by the Massachusetts theory is fleeting; the distance between the poor and rich of society is ever increasing, destroying the dream of ever living in a truly democratic society (Source 1). And where does this problem being? It begins at the high school level, where all children are held to the same standards, and only a select few are given the opportunity to achieve a higher education. This is common in the majority of high schools and it is becoming more prevalent. Clearly, this is the exact opposite of Dewe...

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...ng citizens to achieve John Dewey’s vision. For all one knows, if today’s citizens had been taught in manners that could have lead them to create a sound democratic society, perchance Dewey’s vision would be reality right now.

Works Cited

Gitlin, Todd. "The Liberal Arts in an Age of Info-Glut." The Language of Composition. By Scanlon, Lawrence, and Robin D. Aufses and Renee H. Shea. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. 155-57. Print.
Mann, Horace. "Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education." The Language of Composition. By Shea, Renee H., Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin D. Aufses. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. 150-52. Print.
Norris, Floyd. "U.S. Students Fare Badly in International Survey of Math Skills." The Language of Composition. By Shea, Renee H., Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin D. Aufses. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. 160-62. Print.
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