Friday, April 1, 2011

Education Leaders Unmasked: Part I Do We Like Dewey

Do we like Dewey or Do we not? Are we doing like Dewey?

I think John Dewey is one of, if not the most, prominent influence on education; it seems every bit of research on education mentions his name. I am now trying to formulate my opinion on him, as he was both a positive and negative influence on education... but all we seem to hear about is the positive.

So here goes, my attempt at either an un-biased post, or at least one that explores the good and bad of Dewey, in my attempt to find out, do I like Dewey or do I not?

Attended University of Chicago.

There are certain universities such as Columbia, U of Chicago, Stanford, that really seem to pump out a lot of people who had a great impact on education. A Professor of note at U of Chicago was John Franklin Bobbitt, and students of note were of course Dewey, and Jay Olshansky (current President of the American Eugenic Society), and President Obama (his Race to the Top will have a profound, albeit so far unknown, effect on education). I’m not bashing U of Chicago or saying either U of Chicago or Dewey are “bad”..I am just mentioning connections.

Charles Darwin had a great influence in Dewey's life works

Dewey was inspired by Darwin and wrote, “The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy”.

Founded University of Chicago Lab Schools

One of if not the most prestigious private school, it is where the elitists send their children. Therefore I must wonder, why did Dewey create a prestigious private school and not a public school? Did he feel it may be a waste to develop “the whole child” if that child wasn’t a wealthy elite? If he studied Darwin (which he did) and took Darwinism to heart, then creating a great school, but just for the “top” children -survival of the fittest- would certainly make sense. (Notable alumsquery? See,)and good luck getting in- tuition hovers above $20,000 a year.

Studied with G Stanley Hall

Hall coined the term and idea of adolescence. Hall had no sympathy for the poor, the sick, feeble-minded or disabled. A firm believer in racial eugenics, selective breeding and forced sterilization, he believed that any charity toward the weak or "defective" simply interfered with the movement of natural selection toward the development of a super-race.

President American Psychological Association

My question- can psychology be used to manipulate or control children? Does it have its place in education?

Professor at Columbia’s Teachers College

You can visit some of my Prussian posts and Teacher College posts to get the history behind these schools. Yes, schools should prepare students to become teachers. But should they all originate from Prussia and follow Prussian models of education? I think not.

Member American Federation of Teachers

The second largest teacher union in the USA, this appointment certainly had influence upon educational policy since the unions have a huge influence on schools

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