Research Paper: Tyack and Cuban With Dewey

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[. . .] 11). Progressive education had to formulate experiences that were interesting and enjoyable, that also "promote having desirable future experiences" (Dewey, p. 16). Traditional schools did not need to consider this because they operated only "from custom and established routine," but this did not mean that progressive schools must go to the opposite extreme of "plan-less improvisation" (Dewey, p. 18).

Uniqueness- This section will be a place where you discuss any unique ideas that are not discussed by the other theorist.

Tyack and Cuban are content merely to describe the various educational reform movements that have come and gone over the past 100 years, many of which turned out to be merely trendy and ephemeral. At most, they advocate small and incremental changes in cooperation with parents, teachers and school officials that would not upset the applecart too much. Dewey in contrast was a fiery preacher and prophet who believed completely in the value of his proposed reforms and advocated for them constantly throughout his life. Compared to Tyack and Cuban, he was far more of an activist than an academic, and they do not spend much time describing a grand new vision of educational architecture and teaching methods as Dewey always did in his books.

Tyack and Cuban go into far more detail about the origins of the factory school in their book than does Dewey, who was content to denounce it repeatedly and call for its overthrow. They are evolutionary by nature while Dewey was a radical and revolutionary. Industrialization had changed the nature of American capitalism, which was no longer based on the sole proprietor, petty merchant, artisan or small farmer, but the giant corporation. In a very short time, "the capitalization of corporations valued at a million dollars or more jumped from $170 million in 1897 to $5 billion in 1900 and more than $20 billion in 1904" (Tyack and Cuban, p. 143). Instead of being trained as self-reliant, independent citizens of a basically rural, agrarian economy, most students in the 20th Century could expect to end up as employees of giant corporations and bureaucracies. Traditional schools were ill-equipped to supply the skilled and white-collar workers that the new economy required, much less the managers, engineers, technicians and accountants. This was the era when the "grammar of education" as it exists today came into being, and it has resisted all attempts and major reform and overhaul, no matter that much of the Fordist-assembly line economy for which it was expressly designed has now moved offshore. In this sense, the U.S. has been left with an education system created for a different era and an earlier type of social and economic system, but reformulating and updating it for the 21st Century has proven extremely difficult. This is not to say that there have been no changes at all for the last 100 years, for their have been -- and some very significant ones.

QUALITY AND INTEGRITY WITH THE POLITICIZATION OF EDUCATION- Write a paper comparing and contrasting the ideas of Tyack & Cuban with the ideas of Dewey about how the quality and integrity of education can be preserved with the politicization of education.

Similarities- Share how their ideas are similar.

Just as much as John Dewey, Tyack and Cuban agree that education reform has always been political in its origins and outcome. Dewey thought that progressive education would improve American society, making it more open and tolerant, less racist, and more opposed to authoritarian and totalitarian influences of the Left and Right. Unusually for an intellectual in the 1920s and 1930s, he denounced both fascism and Communism as oppressive and totalitarian, and considered the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany to be police states with many features in common. According to Dewey, social control always exists, and even the anarchist who intends to abolish all formal government will end up substituting other forms of social control. Even children playing schoolyard games have rules, for "without rules there is no game" (Dewey, p. 55). In fact, rules are part of the game and when they are changed it becomes a different game entirely. Disputes only arise if someone violates these or if a decision by the umpire is regarded as unfair. Progressive education trained students to take their place as citizens of a democracy with its ideal being the "creation of power of self-control" rather than by coercion and external controls (Dewey, p. 75). Dewey stated at the outset of his book that educational philosophies have always been subject to political conflict "marked by the opposition between the idea that education is development from within and that it is formation from without" (Dewey, p. 1).

Needless to say, Dewey has always been a favorite target of conservatives and traditionalists in education, who always demand a 'back-to-basics' approach, for there has never been a more outspoken critic of this type of schooling. In traditional education, knowledge and information from the past are transmitted to students, including moral training and rules of conduct. Schools were very distinct organizations "sharply marked off from other social institutions" in which students were expected to have an attitude of "docility, receptivity, and obedience" (Dewey, p. 2). Their duty is to absorb all the knowledge of the past through lectures and rote memorization of texts, including the Bible, although Dewey did not mention this directly. The implication was always there in all of his writings, though, which is why evangelical Protestants and fundamentalists have always been especially hostile towards him. Battles between traditionalists and progressives in education date back to the early-1900s and still continue up to the present, with Dewey as a perennial target of conservatives. Because of his view that morality was based on experience rather than on traditions passed down by organized religion and texts like the Bible, they have often attacked him as an amoral pragmatist -- and worse.

Tyack and Cuban assert that all school reforms "are intrinsically political in origin" and that many groups have engaged in school politics over the last 100 years for a variety of reasons, such as conflicts over race, religion and ethnicity. At all times, though, the dominant group has been "policy elites" such as business interests that "had privileged access to the media and political officials" (Tyack and Cuban, p. 8).

Differences- Share the differences and ways in which they have contradictory ideas.

Dewey was relentlessly critical of traditional education compared to Tyack and Cuban, who argued that gradual and incremental reforms often produced highly beneficial results. They describe the politics that lead to the creation of the traditional school in more detail than Dewey, although he was well aware of these factors. Naturally, they also address various reforms issues that arose long after Dewey's death, although he would hardly have been surprised by them since they would have seemed quite similar to the many battles he had fought over education in his lifetime. According to Tyack and Cuban, all reforms of public education are political and conflicts have "arisen over ethnic, religious, racial, gender, and class differences" (Tyack and Cuban, p. 8).

There have been battles over segregation, over the use of the Bible and prayers in the classroom, the teaching of evolution vs. creationism, and over English or bi-lingual instruction. Business leaders frequently criticized schools from the 1890s onwards as not preparing students for the modern workforce, as did the 1983 report A Nation at Risk. In 1957 after the Soviets launched Sputnik, there was a wave of hysteria about why Johnny could not read and whether Russian students were far better trained in math and science than their American counterparts. On the whole, though, they are far more skeptical than Dewey about the value and effectiveness of most of these reform fads. No public school reform in history has ever taken place "with the previous slate wiped clean," as Dewey would have preferred (Tyack and Cuban, p. 83). There has never been a case of school reform in U.S. history that "performs and persists precisely according to plan" (Tyack and Cuban, p. 60). Tyack and Cuban advocate not utopian ideals but gradual "improvement from the inside out, especially by enlisting the support and skills of teachers as key actors in reform" (Tyack and Cuban, p. 10). Dewey, in contrast, was fully prepared to start over with a radically new type of pedagogy, curriculum and teacher training.

Tyack and Cuban noted that Utopianism about education always existed from the time of the Revolution onward. Hannah Arendt believed that public education played a more important political role in the United States than any other country in the world because of the waves of immigration that required some system to 'Americanize' the children of new arrivals. In the era of the Great Society of the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson claimed that all national problems could be cured by education (Tyack and Cuban, p. 2). No matter how many utopian reformers and dreamers like… [END OF PREVIEW]

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