Sunday, July 10, 2016

John Dewey’s Legacy To Education: Teen Violence

According to [Progressive Education’s] founder John Dewey, “The school is primarily a social institution,” whose central purpose is not “science, nor literature, nor history nor geography . . but the child’s own social activities.”

The Progressive philosophy maintains that the cause of social strife is the unwillingness of an individual to sacrifice his or her convictions to the group. The insistence on distinctions such as “true versus false” and “right versus wrong” generates social conflict. If only children did not hold strong ideas, disagreement and conflict would evaporate in the sunshine of social harmony. Truth, therefore, is socially fractious, while ignorance is bliss. 

....What definitely won’t guide her is reason, which is why violence has escalated. If people disagree on a certain issue, they can discuss it logically, adhering to facts in order to determine who is correct. If they fail to resolve the issue, they can at least agree that it is rational to respect the rights of others rather than resort to violence. Rational persuasion is thus the foundation of peaceful co-existence.

But by undermining reason, the “socialization” doctrine reduces people to the status of beasts — to slaves of their impulses — where no rational persuasion is possible. Their only ultimate recourse is to deal with each other by brute force — by the law of the jungle. According to Dr. Artz, “I don’t imagine these kids set out to kill [Reena], they just set out to beat her … They don’t understand the consequences of their action.”

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