First Do No Harm: Progressive Education in a Time of Existential Risk develops a comprehensive argument for the importance of progressive education in light of the world’s increasingly severe challenges. Current educational practices, particularly in the United States, instill conformity and compliance at a time when authority must be challenged, skepticism must thrive and our students must be imaginative, creative, empathic and passionately alive.
Steve Nelson traces the origins of progressive education and cites the rich history and inarguable science behind progressive practices. He argues that a traditional or conventional approach to education has dominated as a matter of political expediency, not good practice, and he provides an unsparing critique of current policy and practice, particularly the excesses of contemporary education reform.
Using anecdotes from his many years as an educational leader, he makes the case in an engaging, colorful and accessible style. In the final chapter, Nelson offers a Bill of Educational Rights, hoping teachers, parents and all citizens will demand a more joyful, constructive and loving education for the children in their care.
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About the Author
Since 1997 Steve has been a columnist for the Valley News, the daily newspaper in the mid-Vermont/New Hampshire area on both sides of the Connecticut River. He has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post since 2010, writing about education and politics. Before assuming his current position, he worked as an administrator at Vermont Law School and Landmark College. He is an avid violinist and also served for six years as President of a performing arts school in the Midwest.
Steve has competed in many marathons, triathlons, bicycle races and cross country ski races, with steadily decreasing success. He now primarily races the grim reaper.
He is married to Wendy Nelson, has two children, Jennifer and Christopher, and three perfect grandchildren - Quinn, Maddie and Jack.