Everyone’s a Progressive These Days

| June 30, 2010

Here’s an interesting post on the provenance of “progressives”: Progressives at War in Schools and Classrooms. Larry Cuban writes:

What contemporary progressive-minded teachers and administrators who continue to cope with the standards-based accountability and testing movement have to remember is that the deep well from which early 20th century progressives drank not only included John Dewey but also Edward Thorndike, an early behaviorist psychologist and expert in testing.

I guess it all depends on how you want to slice these things:

So there are no more culture wars between progressives and traditionalists–that is a media-hyped concoction. What exists now is a re-emergence of the efficiency-minded “administrative progressives” from a century ago who, as entrepreneurs, now challenge the educational establishment to become competitive and more market-like. If there is a “war” it is between two century-old wings of educational progressives–it is a family fight.

Isn’t it always?! But in contrast to “Administrative Progressives” are we talking about good old fashioned Deweyans? Or the more radical pedagogues? If only people would stay still long enough to be divided cleanly.

I’m also curious, what is it about the progressive/traditional distinction that continues to give it legs in the media?