Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
John Dewey & Decline Of American Education: How Patron Saint Of Schools Has Corrupted Teaching & Learning Paperback – January 1, 2006
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Top customer reviews
Edmondson explains - ''Dewey is not most interested in the good of the students but rather the successful promotion of a political program. If that political program also happens to be for the academic and moral benefit of the student - as he undoubtedly thought it was - then that is a happy coincidence.'' (8)
Social and political groups are essential to Dewey. Individual, private concerns should be subsumed. 'Democracy' is more important, more real, than each individual.
''For example, that belief in objective truth and authoritative notions of good and evil are harmful to students. . . . Dewey's real opposition, though, may arise from his concern that a belief in objective truth is an impediment to the promulgation of his own philosophical ideas.'' (7)
1. Dewey's troubling legacy
2. A new way to be human
3. Dewey's revolt
4. Democracy betrayed
5. A useful education
6. Disinheriting Dewey
Dewey's focus was to 'social change'. This change is vitally important, however, Dewey is not clear what result is intended. He is very clear in what has to be destroyed - Free market capitalism, entire Judeo/Christian/Greek western culture, individuality and historical awareness. How?
''He stresses instead a general education that is highly vocational and from which 'bookishness' has been purged. Dewey complains that it is 'absolutely impossible' to cultivate habits of social change 'when schools devote themselves to the formal sides of language.' '' (46)
Edmondson uses the last thirty pages to advocate his vision of education. He cites J.R.R. Tolkien, Benjamin Franklin, Plato and mostly Aristotle with some Thomas Aquinas. I did not find this persuasive. Plato was a devout elitist, wanted the rule of 'philosopher kings'. His ideas presaged Dewey. (See Karl Popper - ''The Open Society''). Puzzling choice. Aristotle believed the Greeks were entitled to enslave the barbarians (everyone else). Taught Alexander to conquer them - he did. Hard to accept these opinions.
Edmondson cites Thomas Jefferson's belief of an abstract truth - all are ''created equal''. Where can this be found?
''Despite Jefferson's well-known anticlericalism and heterodoxy, he nonetheless recognizes that not only ideals essential, but he also concedes that they may be rooted in some conception of divine justice. . . . And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? . . . Dewey, by contrast, explicitly rejects the foundation of the Declaration of Independence.'' (72)
When people believe 'Liberty is the gift of God', human power has limits. Unlimited freedom for political authority can mean unlimited tyranny. See - Friedrich Meinecke, ''The German Catastrophe'', a leading German historian who wrote this in 1945. Concluded the rejection of Judeo/Christian tradition enabled Hitler.
This short work presents Edmondson's conclusions. Robert Westbrook, in his intellectual biography - ''John Dewey and American Democracy'' - explains his philosophical, intellectual, and political thinking. This work is a detailed, comprehensive analysis of Dewey and his teaching. Westbrook is sympathetic to Dewey, while Edmondson is not. Nevertheless, both explain Dewey's thought similarly.
Surveying the academic scene in 1964, historian Richard Hofstadter said: “‘The effect of Dewey’s philosophy on the design of curricular systems was devastating’” (p. 37). Rather than studying the traditional “liberal arts,” the schools now seek to “liberate” students from the shackles of the past, encouraging “creativity” and engendering “self-esteem.” Socialization—most notably progressive social change—increasingly replaced learning and scholarly proficiency as the central mission of the schools. “Thanks in no small part to Dewey,” Edmondson says, “much of what characterizes contemporary education is a revolt against various expressions of authority: a revolt against a canon of learning, a revolt against tradition, a revolt against religious values, a revolt against moral standards, a revolt against logic—even a revolt against grammar and spelling” (p. 56).
To rightly respond to the educational problems we face, Edmondson invokes Flannery O’Connor, who simply advised parents: anything that John Dewey says “do, don’t do.” To make our schools good for our children, the ghost of Dewey must be exorcised! Banishing such things as “whole language learning” (which leaves students unable to read and spell well), “fuzzy” math (which replaces memorizing with analysis) and “values clarification” would be a healthy place to begin! Making the study of history central to the curriculum is essential—as is the discipline of memorizing facts about the past. Learning logic—unlike indulging in “critical thinking”—would equip youngsters to actually think rather than emote. In short: we must rescue our children from the pernicious pragmatism of of John Dewey.