Spring- on Dewey, Cuban, and Freire

Spring- on Dewey, Cuban, and Freire - 2 52 P art 2 Power a...

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252 Part 2 Power and Control in American Education In the late 1960s, the social unrest sparked by the Vietnam War dimmed the hopes of social meliorists. Campus protests and disruptions alarmed conserva- tives and created demands for the restoration of law and order. Republicans at- tacked the curriculum changes of the social meliorists as unproven social ex- perimentation. War protesters, however, linked antiwar activities with greater demands for cultural freedom. Included in these demands was greater educa- tional freedom for students to pursue their own interests. In addition, the fi- nancial cost of the war and energy problems in the 1970s caused unemployment and economic stagnation. Thus, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a confused period of curriculum change occurred with conservatives demanding more discipline in the schools, cultural and antiwar protesters demanding more freedom in the schools, and social-efficiency advocates demanding changes in the curriculum to solve the problems of unemployment and economic stagnation. The result in the 1970s was that conservatives and social-efficiency advocates joined forces to empha- size, as a solution to both discipline and economic problems, career-education courses, expanded vocational offerings, and closer linkages between the cur- riculum and the needs of the labor market. Mostly, those seeking greater educa- tional freedom established private alternative schools outside the organization of the public schools. Although many reasons might be given for the short life of these schools, certainly financial problems made it difficult for them to com- pete with public schools. It is important to understand that the private alternative schools established in the 1960s and 1970s were part of a long tradition of efforts to organize a cur- riculum based on student choice and interest. Usually this tradition flourished in private schools. A major difficulty in organizing a student-centered curricu- lum in a public school is that the public school exists to serve the interests of so- ciety overall. This means, as we have discussed, that the public-school curricu- lum is primarily determined by constantly shifting social, economic, and political goals. The attempt to create a child-centered curriculum is part of the develop- mentalist tradition of adjusting the curriculum to the child's nature. The as- sumption is that the source of motivation, interest, and learning is within the na- ture of the child. Education, therefore, involves providing the opportunity for children to learn as their interests and desires unfold. Some educators in this tra- dition argue that a child passes through different stages of development and that the curriculum should be adjusted for each developmental stage.
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This note was uploaded on 02/10/2011 for the course EDFN 300 taught by Professor Borkowski during the Spring '11 term at South Carolina.

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Spring- on Dewey, Cuban, and Freire - 2 52 P art 2 Power a...

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