When John Dewey’s system of progressive education was widely instituted in the United States, from the 1920’s to the 1970’s, the United States developed into the most well-educated country on Earth. Progressive education emphasized each student’s unique understanding and learning about real problems in the real world. Students were treated like real citizens or future citizens and taught to solve problems for themselves using all their abilities. Since the conservative counter-revolution in the 1980’s, students have been treated like factory line standardized widgets and forced to learn over and over again, by rote, basic reading and math. The Republican-Teabagger “No child left behind,” test-test-test approach has left 90% behind so the 10% could catch up. The 10% still cannot catch up and the 90% are now kept from moving forward. America has in 30 years, under conservative domination and intimidation of teachers, dropped from number one to last in the industrialized world in education.
- We need to return to John Dewey’s vision of a humane and progressive educational system with individualized attention to students. Tests kill thought and innovation. Save the children, save ourselves. Stop the madness. Stop the testing now.