The Dewey Factor (Part II)

Yesterday, I showed how John Dewey, the “Father of Progressive Education,” was one of the authors and signers of the Humanist Manifesto, a blatantly antichristian document. Today, let’s go a little further.

Dewey’s educational philosophy can be summarized in four points, as follows:

There is no such thing as an eternal truth.

What happens when this is the starting point for education? You are left in a vacuum, morally and spiritually.

Education should be child-centered.

This sounds good. After all, isn’t education for the children? However, what this means in Deweyspeak is that children will direct their own education—they will decide what they want to learn. How many children do you know who are aware of what they need to learn?

Experience is more important than booklearning.

There’s always an element of truth in error. Yes, experience can add a lot to one’s education. Field trips can be quite beneficial. All history students should see the most significant historical sites. Yet for Dewey and his followers, this meant that experience was the primary means for learning. Books were not that important. In fact, Dewey didn’t believe children should be taught to read until they exhibited a desire to learn how. I thought it was a teacher’s responsibility to make sure students could read. Not according to Dewey.

Schools should be embryonic communities.

All schools should be turned into social laboratories to ensure children are “socialized.” Make the schools just like the community by having students help run the office, etc. While there can be value in some of this, that’s not the main reason for a school. The emphasis is on socialization—preparing students to fit into their society. For Dewey, that society was going to be a socialist one. Everyone needs to know their place in the “new order.”

To me, this is scary stuff, the more so because we now see much of what he wanted coming to fruition. Our education system may not use the word “progressive” as often as before, but the philosophy that currently dominates education is manifestly progressive.