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Progressive Education and Its Critics

Progressive education is a broad theoretical and practical approach to education that has a long intellectual history. Focusing originally on the nature of the child and human experience, it developed into an approach to elementary and secondary schooling (K–12) that now extends to undergraduate programs. Never clearly defined or completely unified, in the United States the progressive movement came to prominence during the 19th century. It dominated the early part of the 20th century but receded in the late 1950s. While the movement never reestablished its earlier preeminence, it continues to this day. Some philosophers of education even view it as the current educational status quo, at least rhetorically and ideologically if not practically. Its legacy is seen in the deschooling, children’s rights, and philosophy ...

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