Dear Diane, I’m reminded that for 50 years the USSR claimed to be a democracy (and its rulers socialists), and so did England (for some of that time), Sweden, and … Dewey. In other words, studying the common roots of progressivism historically is valuable, yet it leads us only so far—it risks lumping together disparate meanings and movements. That does not negate the value of books (like yours) that try to track their common and uncommon histories. It’s well to remember that Progressive was a word used by Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, the inventors of standardized testing, populists, both...


Dear Deborah, You choose to set aside the "complex idea of nomenclature," but I don't. Not out of orneriness, but because I wrote a book about the varieties of progressivism, as did Lawrence Cremin ("The Transformation of the School"). Educators who saw themselves in the mainstream of progressivism, and who at the time were acknowledged as such, were responsible for the advent and mass production of standardized testing and intelligence testing; for tracking of students into academic and vocational education; and for such extremes as "life adjustment education," where the intellectual stuff was withheld from all but about 20 percent ...


Dear Diane, Amen. Right on target. And well said, to boot. So, let's leave Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg for a while, although it's hard to do. The amazing thing is—as you note—the complete lack of accountability behind their schemes. Like many a revolutionary the object seems to be to ensure that the past is smashed and cannot be put together again, in the hopes that something new and glorious will emerge out of the ashes. The only hint we have about the "new" is that it should be market driven, "competitive", and rest largely on test scores—or...


Dear Deb, I hope you won't hold my Texas origins against me. I have lived in NYC since 1960—save for a 3-year detour to Washington, D.C.—and my first book was a history of the New York City public schools. I have been writing about these schools for about half my life, so, yes, I have a strong and continuing interest in what happens here. We don't usually say, "As New York goes, so goes the nation," but this is one of those instances where it might be appropriate to do so. As you know, and our readers...


Dear Diane, I wrote the following after reading the NY Times piece you sent me last week. Meanwhile my earlier effort to lay out our differences has led to a lively response from you on progressive education and the rationale for standardized national tests. I'm already preparing my counter-arguments. But before I blast back on either one of these subjects where we appear in great disagreement, I thought it interesting to talk a moment about where we are intellectually and viscerally on such common ground—on the educational system in NYC. I find that interesting—since one naturally imagines...


The opinions expressed in Bridging Differences are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments