Has the Pendulum Swung
Once Too Often?
SINCE the middle 1940s, American schools have been at the center of a tug of war between competing educational philosophies. With striking regularity, educational policy has swung from domination by "progressives" to domination by "traditionalists" in roughly ten-year periods. Since there is an extraordinary degree of diversity among the millions of teachers in the nation, both in their professional training and in their personal views, no one philosophy ever has decisive control at any moment. Yet even the teacher who closes the classroom door to the latest educational fashion cannot remain unaware of the struggles over educational policy in the political arena.
From the mid- 1940s until the mid-1950s, the "good school" followed progressive practices; from the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s, the "good school" emphasized the