It’s That Time of Year!

For research papers of course.

This year I have to write one on “education in the 1930’s.”  So I’ve been reading articles.  There was one I found worth sharing by Gale.

Here’s a section in it:

Educational Progressives Versus Educational Conservatives

Progressives, organized and becoming a force by 1919, were interested in creating a better society through child center education. Teaching by rote memorization was out of favor. Progressives believed that allowing a child to be creative would better prepare him or her to solve problems and meet challenges as an adult. In progressive education the teacher was conceived as a friendly guide. Progressive ideas translated in the 1920s into hands-on learning in science laboratories, art studios, gymnasiums, projects of all varieties, and vocational classes such as electric shops and mechanical repair shops.

Social reconstructionists, considered more radical than progressives, called for indoctrination of students toward establishing a new social order. Social reconstructionists were deeply disturbed over the capitalist profit motives that they believed had led to the misery of the Great Depression. George Counts challenged his fellow educators in 1932 to take up the banner of social reconstructionism. They believed the educator could identify the prevailing social ills and deliberately use the schools to correct them. Many progressives actually opposed social reconstructionists, calling the reconstructionists “romantics” that would not be successful in taking the United States to a new social order. Although many bewildered educators were listening, these ideas made them nervous as conservative school boards controlled their jobs.

Educational conservatives had long been opposed to progressives and were even more opposed to social reconstructionism. They insisted classical curriculum such as Latin in high schools and colleges developed mental discipline and the ability to conquer difficult subjects. They had no use for spending time and money educating the general public. Educational conservatives viewed school as another stage for competition where the most gifted win.

By the end of the decade, social reconstructionism faded. Its goal seemed unrealistic to educators and dangerous to many conservatives. The threat of war shifted the focus of educators. The ideas of progressivism endured and were put into practice when vocational education became an outright necessity to prepare individuals for jobs in the defense industries. Most likely the only lasting legacy of the more radical social reconstructionism was that it supplied conservatives with ammunition to claim that schools were a base of communistic subversion—a criticism that would be wildly pursued in the post World War II hysteria over communism.

I was hoping that the article would be at least somewhat balanced, but that was not the case at all.  The conservatives were portrayed as harsh and critical, people who didn’t want others to get an education, while the progressives were heros, and for the common man.  That is totally wrong.  I probably will use this article to compare the opposing views, but it truly disappointed me.

I did, however, find a good book from a conservative’s point of view.

I can’t lie, I’m pretty excited about this paper because of the topic I got.