Tuesday, February 2, 2016

On Progressive Education

     I've written before about how much I enjoy Jordan Shapiro's twitterfeed (@jordosh) and blogposts. His most recent blogpost in Fortune, entitled, We've Had 100 Years Of Progressive Education And The World's Getting Worse, raises some terrific points. I disagree however with a part of his premise, for I really do not believe progressive education has been tried in any significant way in the USA. He writes, "...We don’t need to consider, for example, the possibility that a century of well-intentioned progressive trends in education may have cultivated a generation of entitled I-me-mine individualist “winners” who can all too easily stomach the idea that their success is deserved even while their neighbors are suffering." I just don't buy it. 
"Education, therefore, is a process of living
 and not a preparation for future living." John Dewey

     How does progressive thought in education from Dewey down through Alfie Kohn lead to such thinking?  More importantly, when have we really ever tried progressive education on a massive scale in the USA. Okay, okay, some old-time teachers might point to New Math. But that's from the 70s. From Sputnik to a Nation at Risk to the business led education reforms of the past 20 years, we have not promoted progressive education in the USA. So, I'd appreciate it if Shapiro made the connection.
    This statement, though, is right on target:"But when we promote 21st century skills over 20th century skills, we’re just arguing for a different kind of factory. It shows a lack of imagination."

   Read the whole article. I'd love for some conversation about it.

Featured Post

Stand and Deliver

I've been working with the terrific Godfrey Lee School District in Grand Rapids, Michigan as they work on incorporating the 6c's an...