Tag: John Dewey

Bad pragmatism in political decisionmaking

This diary was prompted by the debate that circulated here around Senator Obama’s vote on telecomm immunity in the FISA bill, especially in Keith Olbermann’s diary of 6/26, and thereafter.  Olbermann’s rationalization was that Obama’s vote was a pragmatic move to attain power for the greater good.  The debate about Obama’s vote culminated in a defense of “purity trolls” (as such) in a diary listed here: “I’m calling out purity trolls by name,” incl. the Founding Fathers.  Since this “pragmatic” justification is endemic in politics today, I think it behooves us to examine it, and to specify and explain a “bad pragmatism” that comes of the uncritical acceptance of social “reality”.  I will also specify an antidote to “bad pragmatism,” in the concept of utopian dreaming.

(crossposted from Big Orange)

Radical Teaching and NCLB: Hursh’s “High-Stakes Testing”

This is a short review of David Hursh’s High-Stakes Testing and the Decline of Teaching and Learning.  Hursh’s book is important because it achieves three important aims: 1) to detail how the personal and the political intertwine at the level of schools and schooling, 2) to show how standards-based reform is based on an economic agenda, namely neoliberalism, and 3) to show that alternatives to neoliberal schooling are possible in all respects and that such alternatives can be created by politically-organized parents and teachers.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

Dewey’s dream and education for social change

This is a book review of Benson, Harkavy, and Puckett’s book of last year,

Dewey’s Dream (Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2007), which picks out a moment in John Dewey’s opus in which he is recommending a rather activist model of schooling.  The authors of Dewey’s Dream then criticize Dewey for deserting this vision, largely to be found in Dewey’s (1899) text The School and Society, and suggest that Dewey’s leaving Chicago (and his experimental school) was a disaster.  I agree, and further suggest that there are insights to be found in Dewey that go beyond those to be found in Dewey’s Dream.

(crossposted at Big Orange)