Today, whether in the name of accountability, higher standards, or economic competitiveness, we risk putting the formal school curriculum ahead of the child—a problem that Dewey addressed in 1902. Advantaged and influential individuals and groups unconsciously surrender the individuality, aspirations, and humanity of the child to privileged interests and voices, and in so doing, they unwittingly give or take away the professional roles and responsibilities of educators. That is, educators are frequently stripped of the freedom to think for themselves, to make professional judgments, and to teach in ways that they consider are in the best interest of children and youth, because we wish to prescribe precisely when students learn which specific skills and information. High-stakes testing, for instance, dominates the curriculum and, therefore, the teacher and the student in certain situations. But this scenario is not a completely new one, and we can learn much from Dewey's analysis of similar departures from sound educational thinking. Revisiting The Child and the Curriculum, then, may enable us to better understand and resist some unwarranted contemporary policies and practices.
Simpson, Douglas J. and Jackson, Michael J. B.
"John Dewey's View of the Curriculum in The Child and the Curriculum,"
Education and Culture:
2, Article 5.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/eandc/vol19/iss2/art5