More Off-Message Progressives

More misguided progressives who think schools have something to do with kids and learning, what a weird way to think about American education…what’s more, they’ve written a book! Seriously, it’s an outstanding and historically grounded book.

Speaking of progressivism, edubloggers Jenny D. and Brink are having a debate about whether or not No Child is “progressive” and you can join in! It’s an important and too often oversimplified debate, probably because today the moniker “progressive” is pretty unhinged from its historical roots (which is good and bad). Brink says NCLB is not because it runs afoul of Dewey. But, that’s (a) an educational benchmark in the way he is using it rather than a political one as Jenny D. seems to be and (b) more importantly, not entirely true anyway. Jenny D. gets more at the historical roots of progressivism and why NCLB is arguably progressive in its emphases, methods, and use of government which is why, though lost on much of today’s left, it’s such a delicious irony that it was President Bush who passed it. Brink’s appeal to Dewey falls into the trap that Richard Rorty nicely unpacked in a 1989 essay, namely lack of historical context. Seems like a fine time to note how unfortunate it is that at most ed schools students get only an episodic, at best, look at Dewey.

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