The New Progressivism

Read Peter Gow’s Education Week article The New Progressivism is Here.

Commenting on the 2008 NAIS annual conference held in New York City last winter Gow identifies independent schools as being at the forefront of contemporary thinking about education. The elements he identifies in particular include:

  • Assessment against high standards
  • Professional development
  • Real-world connections
  • Multiculturalism as a process, not a program
  • Character and creativity
  • Civic engagement
  • Technology as a tool

His conclusion:

With educators filling Radio City Musical Hall to hear messages of radical change from Sir Ken Robinson and Daniel Pink*, and the conference program knee-deep in sessions focused on sustainability, service, global education, diversity, and emerging technologies, it was clear that the ideals of the New Progressivism have taken root.

One does not have to believe that his or her students are “the leaders of tomorrow” to buy in to a philosophy of education that prepares them to enter higher education, the workforce, and civil society as innovative, flexible, and resourceful citizens and thinkers. Nor are independent schools the only places where such thinking prevails—many public schools and public school teachers are achieving extraordinary things with these same techniques. Together, these institutions’ successes should convince educational and political leaders to consider what the New Progressivism might mean for all schools, and all children.

*for a contrarian point of view on Daniel Pink’s ideas here is Gary Stager reviewing what he calls The Worst Book of the 21st Century.

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