The Perils of Education

photo (7)What is more discouraging in history than the way in which, again and again, the human spirit is freed from its shackles only to be more tightly bound by its liberators?

        – Opening sentence of The Technique of Progressive Education A. Gordon Melvin 1932.

1932 – two years before the founding of Poughkeepsie Day School and a time of many  flourishing progressive public and private schools.

I love old books and Melvin’s is the one I have before me; I bought it for 50cents from a street seller in NYC.

It’s worth it for the (too few) lovely photos alone. There’s Miss Mitchell’s class from PS 41 in NYC at the local firehouse, the buildings at Shady Hill School and classrooms at Englewood Cliffs School in New Jersey. There are diagrams of seating charts and classroom design as well as examples of classroom schedules and work flow.

Later in the week I will scan and post one or two of the photographs but for the meantime I am focussing on that paradox in the quotation. And relating it to current technology  and to play.

And on those topics more anon.

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