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Ed Reforms: Late 1920s—1950s. Progressive Agenda in Cutting Edge Schools. Lincoln School at Teachers College – Columbia Dewey School in Chicago Models for public schools: activities & projects, subject integration Public schools adopted, but mostly incorrectly Did activities & integration

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progressive agenda in cutting edge schools
Progressive Agenda in Cutting Edge Schools
  • Lincoln School at Teachers College – Columbia
  • Dewey School in Chicago
    • Models for public schools: activities & projects, subject integration
    • Public schools adopted, but mostly incorrectly
      • Did activities & integration
      • BUT de-emphasized instruction, content, reading, rigor
critics
Critics
  • Same themes for a century +
    • No plan to replace what they want to reject
    • John Dewey (quoted in Ravitch, p. 199)
    • “There is a present tendency in so-called advanced schools . . . to say, in effect, let us surround pupils with certain materials, tools, appliances, etc., and then let pupils respond to these things according to their own desires. Above all, let us not suggest any plan or end to the students; let us not suggest to them what they shall do, for that is an unwarranted trespass upon their sacred intellectual individuality . . . . Now such a method is really stupid. For it attempts the impossible, which is always stupid, and it misconceives the conditions of independent thinking.”
the soviet influence
The Soviet Influence
  • Educational Progressives: America is being hurt
    • “Heedless individualism” (self-seeking businessmen)
    • Profit motive’s destructiveness
  • Called for:
    • Collectivism over individualism
    • State planned economy
  • Dewey et al., convinced that socialism – a la the Soviet Union – represented the solution
progressive plan for education based on soviet model
Progressive Plan for Education based on Soviet model
  • Replace competitive individualism with collectivism and cooperation
  • Grades, honors, competitions foster competitive individualism, so these must be eliminated
  • Education should shape kids’ social, moral, cultural values
    • Using activities to expand consciousness and teach them to think collectively
  • Efforts failed – Why?
    • No support from teachers (who could be fired for indoctrination)
    • Most people, teachers or not, were not radicals
progressive plan for education based on soviet model6
Progressive Plan for Education based on Soviet model
  • Ignored
    • Secret police, lack of basic freedoms
    • Political repression
    • Gulags (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)
1940s 1950s
1940s – 1950s
  • Same Cyclical Pattern as since turn of the 20th century
  • Reform  Negative Outcomes  Opposition  “New Reforms”
    • Same ideas, new names
    • “Life Adjustment Curriculum”
      • Social living
      • Family life
      • Consumer Education
    • Critics
      • Abandoned historic mission
      • Arthur Bestor, Educational Wastelands
1940s 1950s cont d
1940s-1950s (cont’d)
  • First “shot” fired in “Reading Wars”
    • Rudolf Flesch’s Why Johnny Can’t Read(national best seller)
      • The “look—say” method
    • No phonics, no phonemic awareness, no decoding, no blending
      • Identify words by sight, use pictures as “context cues”
      • Requires memorization of all words in the language
1950 s
1950’s
  • Progressive educators’ agenda dominated
  • BUT
    • 1949: Soviets test first nuclear weapons
    • 1957: Sputnik
  • Huge demand for rigorous instruction in public education – especially math and science
    • General & President Dwight Eisenhower
    • Admiral Hyman Rickover (Education and Freedom, 1959)
  • Ed Progressives’ response: James Conant’s The American High School Today (1959)
1950s cont d
1950s (cont’d)
  • Still too many small high schools using traditional curriculum
  • “Comprehensive high school”
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