One reason I don’t whole-heartedly believe a return to a great books curriculum would “fix” education is that people bring the same ideas and mental filters to literature that they bring to the world. In a Marxist reading of Hamlet, the good prince’s spiritual awakening is invisible, and in a Freudian reading, the urgency of his advice to the queen is lost in psychosexual musings.
Shakespeare wrote within a Christian culture. Strangers to that culture read something quite other than he wrote.
I believe there can be great value in trying to understand old texts as their authors understood them, and since I also believe in an actual reality to which words refer, I also believe in the possibility of genuine understanding. The currently fashionable pedagogy of teaching students to “read” texts through various lenses, such as a “Marxist lens” or a “feminist lens” in practice sometimes amounts to no more than a willful subversion of those texts–an intentional avoidance of drawing near to what the author knew and attempted to communicate.