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Education at the Crossroads

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"A document of first-rate importance. . . . Sheer informed common sense. . . . This volume should be compulsory reading for all, whatever their religious beliefs or disbeliefs, who want light on the nature and place of education in our democratic society."—The Yale Review  One of the most eminent Catholic philosophers of our time explores the American system of education.  "A document of first-rate importance. . . . Sheer informed common sense. . . . This volume should be compulsory reading for all, whatever their religious beliefs or disbeliefs, who want light on the nature and place of education in our democratic society."—The Yale Review  One of the most eminent Catholic philosophers of our time explores the American system of education. Jacques Maritain believes that education must be based on the Christian idea of the individual being “more a whole than a part, and more independent than servile.”  In his view education is concerned with “making a man”—a person with “deep-rooted independence with regard to common opinion.”  This book is devoted to discovering how that can come about. 


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"A document of first-rate importance. . . . Sheer informed common sense. . . . This volume should be compulsory reading for all, whatever their religious beliefs or disbeliefs, who want light on the nature and place of education in our democratic society."—The Yale Review  One of the most eminent Catholic philosophers of our time explores the American system of education.  "A document of first-rate importance. . . . Sheer informed common sense. . . . This volume should be compulsory reading for all, whatever their religious beliefs or disbeliefs, who want light on the nature and place of education in our democratic society."—The Yale Review  One of the most eminent Catholic philosophers of our time explores the American system of education. Jacques Maritain believes that education must be based on the Christian idea of the individual being “more a whole than a part, and more independent than servile.”  In his view education is concerned with “making a man”—a person with “deep-rooted independence with regard to common opinion.”  This book is devoted to discovering how that can come about. 

30 review for Education at the Crossroads

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Rush

    This is a great book, though its beneficial audience is limited to educators, students, people who haven't been educated, people who are being educated, people who should be educated, and people who need to be educated. Thus, the audience is, well, everyone. It's one of those indispensable books, whose declarations about the sorry state of education and the ideal ways to ameliorate most problems are made even more frightening and sorrow-filling when the reader notices the book was written in 194 This is a great book, though its beneficial audience is limited to educators, students, people who haven't been educated, people who are being educated, people who should be educated, and people who need to be educated. Thus, the audience is, well, everyone. It's one of those indispensable books, whose declarations about the sorry state of education and the ideal ways to ameliorate most problems are made even more frightening and sorrow-filling when the reader notices the book was written in 1943. Education at the Crossroads is even more necessary than it was 70 years ago - something that can't be said about too many education books. It is dated only in fleeting moments, which adds to the tragedy of the intervening years: why didn't anyone listen to him? I wish I read this book 10 years ago, but there's also the possibility I might not have been "ready" for it then, so better late than never, I suppose. Maritain is correct about many things: the purpose of education, what schooling/education are not, the importance of understanding God and humanity for any education to work, and a slew of other things too numerous and adroitly explained by him that any brief treatment here will only perform injustice on the work and the author. Not everyone will approve of his suggested curriculum and proposed age/school year alignment - in fact, most contemporary educationalists (the ones who get paid to make decisions and, like the characters in Peter Jackson's version of The Two Towers, make only wrong decisions) will decry and rail and lament and ridicule (if they are willing to read a book that isn't in e-format and doesn't appear on any Common Core tests). That's one sure-fire way of knowing this is a book to read and incorporate into one's soul. It's not perfect, but it will help you understand reality better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt Ely

    A helpful recalibration for me on prioritizing the ends of education, rather than making the means an end unto themselves. It’s particularly interesting that the book was written during the Second World War, the author seeing the rise of fascism as a result of educational systems that denied the importance of intellectual freedom and generalism.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Although Maritain's critique of education was made more than 50 years ago, the core principles of his treatise are still applicable to our current system of education. I read this book in order to develop a framework within which to argue some points in an appelate brief that I was writing for a student free speech case. It was wonderful learning much about the nature of the relationship between a student and a teacher from Maritain. He provides a clear explanation of human nature, of the relati Although Maritain's critique of education was made more than 50 years ago, the core principles of his treatise are still applicable to our current system of education. I read this book in order to develop a framework within which to argue some points in an appelate brief that I was writing for a student free speech case. It was wonderful learning much about the nature of the relationship between a student and a teacher from Maritain. He provides a clear explanation of human nature, of the relation schools have to that nature when educating it, and the perspectives of a secular/civil education and of a religious education (more specifically, the relation of GRACE and human NATURE). A short excerpt from the book summarizes it's spirit, I think: "The task of moral re-education is really a matter of public emergency. . . . . That teachers in public schools may not face unruliness and violence, moral authority must be recognized; and there must be a serious teaching of moral principles, I mean as grounded on truth rather than as suitable to social convenience" (p. 93). The "present agony of the world," is "a supreme crisis of the Christian spirit, which for a long time has been neglected or betrayed in democracies, and which totalitarian states are now determined definitely to abolish, then it is obvious that a revival of Christian conscience and a new work of evangelization are the primary and unquestionable conditions for the moral re-education that the man of our civilization needs" (p. 107).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alan Lindsay

    A very important book, the warnings it made after WWII could be reissued today. Many of Maritain's hopes have not been fulfilled while his fears have come and are more and more coming to pass. He writes, "I am convinced that if [American education] frees itself from the background of an instrumentalist and pragmatist philosophy which is but a hindrance to its inspiration, and which takes the edge of the sense of truth in our minds, this profoundly personalist and humanist educational venture wil A very important book, the warnings it made after WWII could be reissued today. Many of Maritain's hopes have not been fulfilled while his fears have come and are more and more coming to pass. He writes, "I am convinced that if [American education] frees itself from the background of an instrumentalist and pragmatist philosophy which is but a hindrance to its inspiration, and which takes the edge of the sense of truth in our minds, this profoundly personalist and humanist educational venture will push forward with renewed power to a new work of pioneering." I don't believe it has done that. But more importantly, the humanist, liberal education that Maritain is arguing for is not what the market wants today. It may be (it in fact is) what the nation needs. But the market is winning.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Father Nick

    Maritain provides a surprisingly relevant analysis of the present challenges to the educational system in a democracy--or perhaps not so surprising, as he is thoroughly immersed in the "perennial philosophy" that seeks to transcend any particular historical moment. This perspective proves to be the most pragmatic of all, and though the challenges of 1942 and 2015 may differ, Maritain's insights into human nature and to the educational goals that are their consequence shed welcome light on a trou Maritain provides a surprisingly relevant analysis of the present challenges to the educational system in a democracy--or perhaps not so surprising, as he is thoroughly immersed in the "perennial philosophy" that seeks to transcend any particular historical moment. This perspective proves to be the most pragmatic of all, and though the challenges of 1942 and 2015 may differ, Maritain's insights into human nature and to the educational goals that are their consequence shed welcome light on a troubling scene.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Bit of a doomsday feel to this treatise, which looking back 50 years to its publication seems to need the insecurity of it teased out before assessing any lasting value it may have. I liked it when I read it 30 years ago…

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Sumerton

    This book and The Educational Philosophy of John Bosco provide better educational theory than the human race has stumbled to produce in the last 60 years. Sadly we have found new ways of being clever in education rather than being wise and actually teaching truth.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Gebers

    LOVE this book and wrote a few terms paper on it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rosalinda Porlucas

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  12. 5 out of 5

    Luke

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cristian Rodriguez

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luzze Paul

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Justina

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Batacan alexander

  19. 4 out of 5

    Francesca

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric Black

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ai Le

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Haynes

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Messiter

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ej

  26. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert Christian

  28. 5 out of 5

    James

  29. 5 out of 5

    Przemysław Chmielecki

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

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