Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2015
In the first five chapters of this book, I have tried to make some sense of what might be meant by a “better adult” and how our schools might promote the development of that adult. On the basis of that exploration, I have made some general suggestions and a few definite recommendations. First, in our search for a “better adult,” we do not seek one, carefully detailed, ideal toward which we will educate every child. The production of better adults gives us a unity of purpose, but it does not imply uniformity of curriculum, pedagogy, or outcomes. In trying to develop better adults, we are directed to consider every important facet or aspect of human life and to renew our respect for the full range of human talents across those aspects and within them. With this understanding, I have recommended the following for our high schools.
• Vocational education should be expanded and enriched. That expansion should be accompanied by the establishment of a four-year social studies program that includes students from all of the school's programs and socio-economic groups.
• Deeply meaningful material on homemaking and parenting should be included in the curriculum.
• Teachers from each discipline should work together in interdisciplinary teams to select themes that connect the disciplines to each other and to life itself. The great existential themes associated with the traditional liberal arts should be among the themes included in both academic and vocational programs.
• A first-year preparation period should be provided for students who are not academically ready to move from middle school to high school. Teachers selected for this year's work should model the best parenting practices and provide not just remedial work but a rich, stimulating environment that will – in a sense – make up for the previous years of possible deprivation.
• Good schools, like good parents, should give far more attention to the social and moral development of students and, in general, to the sort of society they are promoting – one that will help its citizens to develop and retain an intact morality.