Education and the New America

Education and the New America

Education and the New America

Education and the New America

Excerpt

The present volume is the offspring of an academically unsanctioned union of anthropology and philosophy of education. In popular mythology, natural children are supposed to be marked by excessive vigor and ruthlessness in the pursuit of their goals. If these qualities are present in this book, we should count them assets. For the task of this book is a large one, and its accomplishment will require the sacrifice of the usual niceties of academic discourse.

The task? It is no less than that of bringing into contemporary focus the traditional message of the professional educationist, namely that the schools must change to meet the demands of a changing society. When Dewey, in 1899, delivered the three lectures which were issued as The School and Society, this message was already a standard one, and Dewey's contribution was to give it particular relevance to the impact of industrialism in America. Dewey recognized that the dynamic source of social change lay outside the school. He insisted, however, that the school's role was not merely a passive one of adjusting to changes already occurring but was also an active one of preserving the most precious values of an older culture that would otherwise be destroyed in the transition to a new society. (We explain this aspect of Dewey's thought more fully in Chapter 5.) Dewey's expression added a distinctive text to the educationist's message, a text to be reiterated by this book, but in a new form.

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