Revisiting Dewey: Best Practices for Educating the Whole Child Today

Overview

Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, high-stakes testing has become a ubiquitous feature of public school children's daily rituals. Reform advocates argue that testing leads to greater alignment of the curriculum with teaching and learning, teacher and student accountability, and in some cases, a preservation of our cultural heritage. Opponents contend that testing results in prolific cheating, higher drop-out rates, and a narrowing curriculum with emphases on teaching to the test. Moreover,...

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Revisiting Dewey: Best Practices for Educating the Whole Child Today

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Overview

Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, high-stakes testing has become a ubiquitous feature of public school children's daily rituals. Reform advocates argue that testing leads to greater alignment of the curriculum with teaching and learning, teacher and student accountability, and in some cases, a preservation of our cultural heritage. Opponents contend that testing results in prolific cheating, higher drop-out rates, and a narrowing curriculum with emphases on teaching to the test. Moreover, some evidence suggests that a singular focus on passing the test at all costs leads to neglect in other areas including attending to students' spiritual and ethical needs as well as developing abilities to collaborate with others, communicate effectively, and innovatively solve problems. Nearly a century ago, Dewey proposed a philosophy of education addressing the needs of the whole student. He provided insights into the development of intelligence, the importance of socially useful skills, and the healthy growth of the individual. In the context of high-stakes testing and best practices, his insights may be more prescient than ever.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Stuckart (Wagner College) and Glanz (Yeshiva Univ.) advocate for a return to John Dewey's philosophy of education, especially as related to the complexity of addressing the needs of the whole child in the context of current contemporary issues in education today. Dewey advocated education for the whole child that treated teaching and learning as ethical practices necessary to a democratic society. Stuckart and Glanz are particularly concerned this broader focus on the role of education is being replaced by a narrow focus on testing. Many of the issues the authors discuss refer to the negative consequences of practices associated with No Child Left Behind. Specifically, Stuckart and Glanz assert that the focus on high-stakes testing has led to the negative consequences tied to the narrowing of the public school curriculum in the US. For example, key skills for the 21st century—effective collaboration, communication, and critical problem-solving skills—are neglected aspects of this curriculum. Finally, the book is an excellent overview and response to the popular accountability movements today. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduate collections and above.
— July 2011
Richard A. Gibboney
Revisiting Dewey is an admirable effort to place today's incoherent mess of federal education "reform" policies that mindlessly test poverty-struck children from the lower social classes with invalid tests, repeatedly failing students, then shouting that our excellent system of public education is failing. What nonsense! No mainstream research supports this nihilistic conclusion deliberately encouraged by the failed No Child Left Behind Law (2002).

The authors correctly invoke the mind and democratic passion of John Dewey to make sense of the social destruction wrought by NCLB and an appeasing media. Only Dewey's comprehensive democratic theories and practice can cut through the jungle of punitive, unscientific, and teacher-destructive practices of NCLB, all amazingly supported by President Obama's administration.

Although readers may find items of disagreement in a book of this scope, it is clear to me that Revisiting Dewey will bring educators face-to-face with the Business Model of deceptive efficiency that uses invalid testing of our most needy citizens to induce a false failure of the world's most democratic public system of schools, the better to displace them with a for-profit-privatized-corporate system run by a trillion dollar hedge fund, or by a worker-friendly company like Wal-Mart.

Scot Danforth
What Stuckart and Glanz ask us to do is to return to John Dewey, to his ideas about children, pedagogy, and schooling in this American democracy. While this involves engaging with the past in order to understand Dewey's thinking in context, it also calls us to deepen our critical apprehension of the present accountability movements. Moreover, this book asks us to progress in Deweyan fashion forward into the future, moving with ambitious steps, a finely balanced sense of practicality, and a hopeful awareness of what frail human knowledge might contribute to professional action.
David P. Moxley
The authors offer all educators bold ideas and practices inspired by Dewey's conception of progressive education, which are timely and meaningful as the national debate about the process and ends of education persist today. I for one find the contents quite relevant as I contemplate the "whole" education of the "whole child." The book deals with a range of themes pertaining to education of the whole child and its relevance is steeped in a critical reflection on contemporary perspectives on what constitutes good education. The book is both a resource on contempoary education and Deweyian theory and I thank the authors for setting forth an agenda on educational policy and educational practice with focus, perspective, and insight.
Greg Seals
Stuckart and Glanz offer a detailed discussion of how what educational researchers now consider best practices for schools embody Dewey's ideas. They follow with a study in which Dewey scholars hold forth on new directions and possibilities. Enjoyable!
Audrey Amrein-Beardsley
This book is just right to help us bring John Dewey back to life in America's public schools. In this impressive tribute, Stuckart and Glanz sharply reexamine and clearly illuminate the depth of Deweyan thought and incite readers to revisit his intellectual contributions and what it means to educate the whole child. One must believe that now, after coping for nearly one decade with the ruinous consequences of No Child Left Behind and its stronger accountability tenet, we might take back some control over what is happening in our schools, in Dewey's honor and for the betterment of all, above all the students on whom the future of our nation lies.
CHOICE - July 2011
Stuckart (Wagner College) and Glanz (Yeshiva Univ.) advocate for a return to John Dewey's philosophy of education, especially as related to the complexity of addressing the needs of the whole child in the context of current contemporary issues in education today. Dewey advocated education for the whole child that treated teaching and learning as ethical practices necessary to a democratic society. Stuckart and Glanz are particularly concerned this broader focus on the role of education is being replaced by a narrow focus on testing. Many of the issues the authors discuss refer to the negative consequences of practices associated with No Child Left Behind. Specifically, Stuckart and Glanz assert that the focus on high-stakes testing has led to the negative consequences tied to the narrowing of the public school curriculum in the US. For example, key skills for the 21st century—effective collaboration, communication, and critical problem-solving skills—are neglected aspects of this curriculum. Finally, the book is an excellent overview and response to the popular accountability movements today. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduate collections and above.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607090298
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel W. Stuckart is an assistant professor of secondary education at Wagner College in New York City and is currently serving as national program chair for the Small College and University Faculty Forum of the National Council for the Social Studies. Jeffrey Glanz is a professor and holder of the Silverstein Chair in Professional Ethics and Values in the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword v

Preface vii

Part 1 Fundamental Issues in Educating the Whole Child

1 Creating a Curriculum for Teaching the Whole Child 3

2 Changing Demographics: Promoting the New Democracy, Education, and the Whole Child 25

3 Subverting the Whole Child through Narrowing of the Curriculum and Teaching to the Test 51

4 Critiquing Scientific Dogmatism in Education with Implications for Current Supervisory and Administrative Practice within a Standards-based Environment 77

5 Implementing Inquiry, Holistic Learning through Technology 99

6 Advocating for the Disenfranchised Exceptional Child in an Era of High-Stakes Education 131

7 Realizing Our Ethical Responsibilities as Educators 159

Part 2 Voices from the Field

8 The Relevance of Dewey's Work 181

9 School Reform in New York City: The Impact of NCLB 197

10 Combating Poverty in Light of the Attack on Deweyan Democracy 213

Part 3 The Dewey Schools

11 Democracy and Education for All Children 225

References 245

About the Authors 265

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