John Dewey and the Decline of American Literacy (Part 2)

By:  Sam Blumenfeld
07/13/2012
       
John Dewey and the Decline of American Literacy (Part 2)

 In John Dewey’s article of 1898, “The Primary Education Fetich,” in which he warned his progressive colleagues that “change must come gradually,” lest it arouse violent resistance on the part of parents and taxpayers, he outlined his plan for how all of this was to be carried out.

 

In John Dewey’s article of 1898, “The Primary Education Fetich,” in which he warned his progressive colleagues that “change must come gradually,” lest it arouse violent resistance on the part of parents and taxpayers, he outlined his plan for how all of this was to be carried out. He wrote:

What is needed in the first place is, that there should be a full and frank statement of conviction with regard to the matter from physiologists and psychologists and from those school administrators who are conscious of the evils of the present regime.... There are already in existence a considerable number of educational “experiment stations,” which represent the outposts of educational progress. If these schools can be adequately supported for a number of years they will perform a great vicarious service. After such schools have worked out carefully and definitely the subject-matter of the new curriculum — finding the right place for language studies and placing them in their right perspective—the problem of the more general educational reform will be immensely simplified.

One of the supporters of Dewey’s program was John D. Rockefeller II, who put four of his sons in one of the “experiment stations,” the Lincoln School, which managed to turn the four boys into dyslexics. All of which proved that Dewey’s program of destroying literacy worked like a charm.

And so, the plan for educational reform was quite clear: first find the “right place” for reading instruction in the primary grades and “the problem of the more general education reform will be immensely simplified.” In other words, children who couldn’t read needed a new dumbed-down curriculum to accommodate this overall decline in literacy.

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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)

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