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The Progressive Era. EDN 200 September 20, 2006. The Progressive Era* 1870s-1920s. Political Economy Urbanization -increased from 9,902,000 in 1870 to 54,158,000 in 1920.

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the progressive era

The Progressive Era

EDN 200

September 20, 2006

the progressive era 1870s 1920s
The Progressive Era*1870s-1920s

Political Economy

  • Urbanization-increased from 9,902,000 in 1870 to 54,158,000 in 1920.
  • Immigration-increased racism; Since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859, bigots in the US had created “scientific" argument that some racial groups were more evolved than others.  Literacy tests used to restrict immigration; Ku Klux Klan grew to over 4 million

Tozer, 2006

Political Economy
  • Industrialization-mass production, new inventions; “Taylorization of work”-Frederick Taylor’s notion of scientific management was breaking each complex task down into smaller parts so that an unskilled person could be taught in a short time thus increasing production.
    • This required fewer skilled workers, a decrease in wages and enabled work force to be easily replaced.  Women were brought into jobs which required little training like office jobs. 
  • Workers fought this management by forming unions. The broadest way to characterize Progressive reforms is increased regulation.
the progressive era 1870s 1920s4
The Progressive Era1870s-1920s
  • Ideology
    • Modern Liberalism**
      • Darwinian biology and relative truth (Truth was not permanent; what we believe to be true today might be shown false tomorrow as our ways of arriving at scientific truth are improved by new instruments and new methods
      • Individuals were viewed only as a cell in the social organism; the rugged individual was seen as problematic
      • Progress was possible, but only through scientific planning and management
      • Government should regulate to create conditions of freedom
      • People could only improve so much; they were limited by their genetic endowment
      • Education was for the gifted and talented only; training was appropriate for the average and below
schooling problems of the 1880s 1890s
Schooling problems of the 1880s & 1890s
  • The failure of the traditional classical curriculum to interest and motivate students
  • High dropout rates at both elementary and secondary levels
  • Growing problems of juvenile delinquency and illiteracy among urban youth
  • Waste and inefficiency in school management practices in the neighborhood controlled (especially immigrant) schools
  • Irrelevance of the traditional curriculum to the “real” needs of modern industrial society
schooling progressive education
Schooling Progressive Education
  • Belief that the needs and interest of students rather than those of teachers should be the focus of schooling. It called for the use of resources to improve the quality of life for Americans.
    • Four assumptions:
      • Traditional curriculum should be replaced by a varied curriculum based on student interest
      • Learning should be based on activities rather than rote
      • School aims, content, and processes should reflect social conditions
      • A primary aim of schooling is to help solve social problems
john dewey
John Dewey
  • Most influential American philosopher of the 20th century
  • Believed children were actively curious and social by nature and given meaningful task, they would become active problem solvers seeking to carry out their own purposes
  • Believed that schools penalized the children for behaving in accord with these facets of their nature
  • Believed activities should be selected by teacher and student on the basis of the students’ interests
  • Believed that working together, students could cooperatively solve problems thinking critically about the causes and consequences of things they were interested in, thus growing intellectually
  • Believed classroom was not preparation for life, but life itself
  • Opposed educating for vocation

For More Information, See Fischetti (2004) Dewey Powerpoint

1 completely disagree 10 completely agree
1 (completely disagree) – 10 (completely agree)
  • Dewey believed that the curricula should be entirely derived from student interests. How strongly do you agree or disagree with this belief?
1 completely disagree 10 completely agree9
1 (completely disagree) – 10 (completely agree)
  • Dewey didn’t believe in a succession of studies. He also wrote that education should not be compartmentalized into specific subjects at specific times. How strongly do you agree or disagree with his notions?
1 completely disagree 10 completely agree10
1 (completely disagree) – 10 (completely agree)
  • Dewey said that he believed examinations were only useful to:
    • Test child’s fitness for social life
    • Reveal the place which he can be of the most service
    • Identify where he can receive the most help

He didn’t mention the use of examinations to judge students, teachers, or schools. How strongly do you agree or disagree with Dewey’s views on testing?