The inevitability of anti-intellectualism

Filling the pail

Peter Lang, a publisher of academic books, has been kind enough to send me an electronic copy of the International Handbook of Progressive Education (here’s a review by John Howlett). It is a quirky mix that is enticing for education anoraks like me. Each chapter is preceded by an abstract in the fashion of an academic paper, and this enables a reader to dip in and out. I will write more as I read more but, for now, I wish to focus on a chapter by Wayne J. Urban of the University of Alabama.

Urban focuses on three critics of progressive education from the 1950s and 1960s; Arthur Bestor, Richard Hofstadter and James Bryant Conant. I knew about Bestor’s writing, having researched him for my new book, but I knew less of the others.

Urban concedes that progressivism is difficult to define and has a ‘tendency to contradiction’. However…

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