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Dare the School Build a New Social Order?

  • By: William H. Watkins
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Curriculum studies have long examined the interaction of school knowledge and the social order. Many question whether schools contribute to dynamic thinking and human agency or conforming acceptance to cultural norms. George S. Counts's booklet Dare the School Build a New Social Order? critiques the socializing function of schooling as it searches out the politics of possibility in the curriculum.

Concerned with America's social and economic inequities, University of Chicago graduate and longtime Columbia University professor of education, Counts (1889–1974) (re)examined schools and the curriculum through a series of essays in the 1920s. Jolted by the Great Depression, Counts critiqued “progressive” education as limited and set forth a new politicized, some say radical, agenda for education. Three papers delivered in 1932, “Dare Progressive Education Be Progressive,” ...

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