John Dewey's Change In The Progressive Era

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The turn of the twentieth century marks a time of numerous radical reforms in American society, referred to as the Progressive Era. This included the reevaluation and subsequent restructuring of how America educates its young citizens. One of the most well-known advocates for these changes was John Dewey, commonly referred to as the “father” of progressive education. Although Dewey’s ideas outlined in “My Pedagogic Creed” were quite prominent in the educational movement at this time, Dewey was not the sole voice school reform. There were numerous others who possessed a variety of opinions regarding how public education should change during this dynamic period in America. Educational advocates like Cora Bigelow, George Counts, and Lewis Terman…show more content…
In his article, “Dare the School Build a New Social Order?”, Dewey hashes over several falsehoods about public education. One of his key points was the importance of schools to shape children in the ways of society, to steer them from right and wrong. Despite this, he acknowledges that schools cannot carry this out ignorantly. Although the goal is for children to grow up with good morals, it is wrong to keep them blind to other ways of life. Well-behaved members of society are highly desired, however, schools should not try to make students think and act the same, as individuality is important in society. With this, Counts describes his ideal education system to breed inquiring minds who question and investigate, who look at the world in many facets and not so simplistically. In conjugation, it needs to be a system that gives students such essentials that they could go on to any profession. As Counts says, "There is fallacy that the great object of education is to produce the college professor, that is, the individual who adopts an agnostic attitude towards every important social issue...who sees all sides of every question and never commits herself to any,... who consequently holds his judgement in a state of indefinite suspension, and who before the approach of middle age sees his powers of action atrophy and his social sympathies decay" (“George Counts” 216). His hope was to create well-rounded individuals with minds of their own. Counts’ ideas of encouraging dynamic learning and emphasis on school as a morality lesson is very similar to Dewey’s views. However, Counts differs from Dewey in the fact that he strongly believed the school system should be aware of what they preach. In fact, Counts calls in to question the Progressive Educator’s agenda, saying, "On the one hand, they speak continually about the reconstructing society through education; and on the other, they apparently live

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