Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Miranda, Wilma

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership and Educational Policy Studies


Adler; Mortimer; 1902- Paideia proposal; Mathematics--Study and teaching


Deficiencies in mathematics achievement by American students have been well documented. Consequently, numerous mathematics education reform proposals have surfaced in recent years. One curriculum proposal which has not been given much attention is the mathematics recommendation made by Mortimer Adler in The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto. The Paideia Proposal (pronounced pie-day-uh) is based on Adler's belief that a democratic society has an obligation to educate all of its children in the same way in which that society educates its brightest children. In the book, published in 1982, Adler outlined a reconstruction of American public education so that every student would follow the same course of study. The general proposed curriculum consists of liberal arts training and the elimination of all vocational and specialized courses. The proposal also specified that three modes of teaching and learning be employed in all classes: didactic, coaching, and the conducting of seminars in the Socratic method. For the mathematics component of his curriculum reform proposal, Adler prescribed that all stu&ents study arithmetic through calculus. While Adler acknowledged that some students may have difficulty learning all of these subjects, his proposed solution was to provide students who need it extra time and help to complete their studies. This contrasts with the present policy of most public schools, which is to place students of lesser ability into less rigorous classes with lower expectations. This thesis is an argument on behalf of Mortimer Adler's Paideia Proposal for mathematics. The study demonstrates that a proper implementation of Adler's ideas may be an effective solution to the problems of poor mathematics achievement, under-representation by minority students in advanced mathematics classes, and inadequate mathematics instruction.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [75]-83)


vi, 83 pages




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