The Arc of Progressivism in Schools (Part 1)

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

The Phi Delta Kappan poll of public attitudes toward public education published this month has 78 percent of respondents, the highest ever since 1997, voting to reform the existing system of schooling rather than seek alternatives (e.g., vouchers, charters). Among those respondents who rank their local schools highly (p. 12), the percentage wanting to improve existing system rather than replace it rose to 86. Among minority respondents, 19 percent of blacks and 34 percent of Hispanics did want to replace existing public schools.

These results showed great support for improving public schools rather than chasing reforms that replace the existing system. Such polls also remind me that even if there is strong support for  improving the existing system of public schools, the historic competing goals within tax-supported public schools persist. That is, schools should both change individuals and society while at the same time conserve and transmit core community and…

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