Dewey: The Progressive Era's Misunderstood Giant
John Dewey has been called the "most influential writer on education" and the "greatest philosopher" this country has produced. He's also one of the most misunderstood, oft-quoted, and least-read educational commentators of the progressive era.
"Dewey, in fact, is an icon who was picked up for better or for worse on all sides of most debates," says Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, a professor of history and education at New York University. One reason for Dewey's complicated reputation is simply that he lived so long--from 1859 to 1952--and wrote so copiously during a period of enormous change.
"That's part of the problem of Dewey," argues Diane Ravitch, a senior research scholar at NYU. "He wrote so much over so many years. Forty years later, the schools didn't look the same. So people always had a choice: Do you pay attention to the Dewey of 1902 or...
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