Mucators do not approve of those features of progressive
education which stem from the materialistic philosophy of
John Dewey, the results of which we regard as no less
"orothy Thompson' says: "A generation ago an American high school graduate could enter a European tiniver-
S|fy equipped with approximately the same intellectual
disciplines, body of knowledge, and frames of reference, as
"is European fellow student. Today he is isolated. At a
time when America is. in terms of power, the leader of this
"•vilization, its high school or junior college graduates,
""less especially brilliant or self-taught, or especially prepared, could not pass the entrance examinations of Oxford,
**mbridge, or anv great Continental university."
Dr. E. Merrill Root, professor of English at Earlham
College, Richmond, Indiana, sees a threat in textbooks and
Published material submitted to students as factual. He
^ys, "In the library of a midwest state university, Commu-
n'st publications were prominently displayed as if they
fr«e reliable data."
Nationally renowned commentator John Flynn quotes
roni texts to show the method of slanting, such as, "Our
Constitution-makers built for property rights, not human
'"'lis." He further says, "I say there is a powerful move-
rjent led by important educators, to use the public schools
o influence the minds of students in favor of Socialist root
as and objectives. I charge that a number of influential
"tutors, teamed up with social propagandists and poli-
lans, have for twenty years been trying to use the
Public schools to shape the minds of children in support
. Socialist theories. 1 am not charging them with promotes communism — although many Communists have aided
. Where is present-day American education leading us?
it destroy or strengthen us? The schools belong to
People of America. It is the duty of the people of
..""'lic.i to examine the facts carefully to determine where
0 educational program of today is leading.
""■ origin of the present-day school system dates back
> "le turn of the century, to an American philosopher.
: Qn Dewey. To support Dewey's position as a philosopher
""(■ thing. To support his philosophy whole-heartedly
"' Unequivocally, and to the exclusion of all other phi-
"S"l>hi,-v is another.
v ()t Dewey, Albert Lynd, seven years a teacher at Har-
•u College and Stanford University, says: "Dewey is not
J 'arxist: he had no truck vv ith communism. But the kind
(| s°ciety toward which he wants change to operate is
"nitely ti species of socialism. . . . The argument of
(j Sressive education versus traditional education does not
j. n "n the merits of doll-playing versus Latin grammar,
t "nils on the question: Are there any 'constants' in
■ "1a"i thought? Are there any absolutes in ethics? Are
'' any immutable principles in anything?"
^ J'"e apparent beginning of the progressive education
U|1||iciit was in 1919. Its aims and goals were consistent
„'"1 "lose earlier defined by Dewey. In 1933, the plan for
<Av social order began to emerge.
'Itri ' Jesse "■ N'ewlon urged that the material for teach-
uSnow to build the "new social order" be introduced into
°urriculum of the schools and extended to kindergarten
Harold Ivugg said, '"Ihe schools must be used to
create a new social order. The first step must be to develop
a new outlook upon life and education among teachers.
Teachers' oaths to defend the Constitution must be abolished. We must impregnate the young mind with the dramatic wonder of change. We must undermine the child's
belief in the greatness of our history and institutions. We
must make them realize that the United States has been
a failure because we are a planless society and must turn
to national planning by the national government. To plan
our life, the government must take over the great industries while the rest must be run on blueprints provided by
the government. Russia plans everything. Through the
schools of the world, we shall disseminate a new conception of government — one that will embrace all of the collective activities of men, including economic government
and social government."
Anotheh man who dreamed of revolutionizing the prevailing social order was Dr. George S. Counts. In 1932,
he stud: "The world is full of social experimentation. There
is one experiment, however, that dwarfs all others — so
bold indeed in its details and its program that few can
contemplate it without emotion. Soviet Russia is endeavoring with all the resources at her command to bring the
economic order under a measure of rational control. She
issues to the Western nations and particularly to the
United States a challenge — perhaps one of the greatest
challenges of history. She issues it not through the Communist International, nor through the Red Army, . . . but
through her State Planning Commission and her system
of public education."
Many of George Counts' theories were compiled in a
series of volumes which he and other educators wrote as
a result of research and study under a grant of $'300,000
by the Carnegie Foundation. In the last volume, according
to John Flynn, collectivism was urged, and teachers were
advised to indoctrinate pupils in order to prepare them
lor a collectivist society.
Harold Laski, British Socialist, described the plan for
the new social order in the following words: "Stripped of
its carefully neutral phrases the report is an educational
plan for tt Socialist America."
When we realize the Socialist nature of this movement,
we must conclude that the great majority of loyal Americans in the teaching profession who advocate progressive
education are not aware of the danger.
JtIany of those who defend progressive education say
that social reconstruction, the plan for the new social
order, never has infiltrated the schools, and that it is no
longer supported actively by any who influence the schools
today. Unfortunately, this argument is based upon wishful thinking. Social reconstruction theorists have not been
eliminated from the education field. To mention a few
still actively at work, we find William Heard Kilpatrick,
Theodore Brameld, and Ernest O. Melby. Books written
and published in the 1930s for the purpose of molding
the thinking of students toward the new social order are
still in print, still available on library shelves, still in use
in some schools. The Rugg social science textbooks are
still influencing thousands. The "Building America Series,"
edited by Mollis Caswell, one of the original planners, is
still in use in some schools. Kilpatrick's book, The Teacher
ami Society, litis influenced and is still influencing thousands of teachers throughout the country.
vi News, April. 1956