CFP: Radical Teacher: Progressive Education (9/1/03; journal issue)

full name / name of organization: 
J. Elizabeth Clark
contact email: 


A movement that called itself “progressive education” took shape more than
100 years ago, with an ideal of self-actualizing learners defining their
environment that mirrored the liberal political ideal. In the 1960s,
progressive approaches reappeared (though not under the same name), again
promising democratic and emancipatory learning. Today’s constructivists,
too, assert that student-centered learning foreshadows democratic living.

Should we then understand these movements as three phases of a long
movement, offering a radical alternative to the hierarchies and rigidities
of conventional schooling and of U.S. society? Do Jane Addams, John Dewey,
Paul Goodman, Herbert Kohl, Debra Meier, and Lisa Delpit all belong in the
same picture? Or were and are they too different in circumstance and goal?
In any case, given the attacks of the Right on sixties educational ideas and
practices, and the victories of the “standards” movement, is progressive
education all but dead right now? Or does it live on vigorously? Where?
Is it strong enough and broad enough to be a base for resistance to voucher
schemes, high stakes testing, and the commercialization of education at all
levels? Does progressive education have a future in the managed university
and in schools accountable mainly to business? And if those questions
aren’t enough for you: is progressive education in its various forms in
fact politically progressive?

We invite manuscripts or brief prospectuses on any of these topics and on
progressive classroom methods now and in the past; but we ask that all
contributions speak, at least briefly, to some of the historical and
political questions mentioned above.

Please send articles or proposals to:
Richard Ohmann, 605 West 111th Street, #53, New York, NY 10025; or

For more information about Radical Teacher, please see our web site:

But perhaps we should not consider our social lives as merely the products
of our choice: the social is a place of resistance and struggle, where books
are published, poems read, and protest disseminated. It is the sphere in
which claims against the political order are made in the name of justice.
--Carolyn Forchè
Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness

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Received on Mon Feb 03 2003 - 17:30:54 EST