Radical Teacher Calls for Articles on the Present Condition of Progressive Education
RADICAL TEACHER CALLS FOR ARTICLES ON THE PRESENT CONDITION OF PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION, ITS PAST, AND ITS FUTURE
A movement that called itself “progressive education” took shape more than 100 years ago, with an ideal of self-actualizing learners defining their environment that mirrored the liberal political ideal. In the 1960s, progressive approaches reappeared (though not under the same name), again promising democratic and emancipatory learning. Today’s constructivists, too, assert that student-centered learning foreshadows democratic living.
Should we then understand these movements as three phases of a long movement, offering a radical alternative to the hierarchies and rigidities of conventional schooling and of U.S. society? Do Jane Addams, John Dewey, Paul Goodman, Herbert Kohl, Debra Meier, and Lisa Delpit all belong in the same picture? Or were and are they too different in circumstance and goal? In any case, given the attacks of the Right on sixties educational ideas and practices, and the victories of the “standards” movement, is progressive education all but dead right now? Or does it live on vigorously? Where? Is it strong enough and broad enough to be a base for resistance to voucher schemes, high stakes testing, and the commercialization of education at all levels? Does progressive education have a future in the managed university and in schools accountable mainly to business? And if those questions aren’t enough for you: is progressive education in its various forms in fact politically progressive?
We invite manuscripts or brief prospectuses on any of these topics and on progressive classroom methods now and in the past; but we ask that all contributions speak, at least briefly, to some of the historical and political questions mentioned above.
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