Education Cut Off at the Root

From the new issue of Salvo.

Collateral Damage

From John Dewey to the Ivory Tower of Babel in Two Easy Steps

by Terrell Clemmons

John Dewey was born in 1859 to an upper­middle-class Burlington, Vermont family. He started adult life as a schoolteacher, but resigned after three trying years. He then earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University and taught for a decade at both the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago. In 1904 he was recruited to head the Teachers College at Columbia University, where he remained for the rest of his long career.

All this while, Dewey formulated and reformulated his educational philosophy. His early, unsuccessful teaching experiences had convinced him that all was not right with education in America and that a new philosophy was in order. It was time to abandon the old conundrums of classical philosophy—questions like "What is truth?" and "Does our thought match reality?" They cannot be answered, he said. We must "get over" them.

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