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Forgotten Heroes of American Education: The Great Tradition of Teaching Teachers


reviewed by Jonathan Zimmerman — May 15, 2006

coverTitle: Forgotten Heroes of American Education: The Great Tradition of Teaching Teachers
Author(s): J. Wesley Null and Diane Ravitch (Eds.)
Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Charlotte
ISBN: 1593114478, Pages: 623, Year: 2006
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True story: last year, a colleague at my institution told me that he didn’t care what our students know. I was pleading for more disciplinary instruction: the future science teachers should take more science, the future math teachers more math, and so on. “It doesn’t matter what they know,” he shot back. “All that matters is how they teach.” Let’s put aside the obvious practical objection to the statement—how can you teach something if you don’t know it?—and ask a more historical question about it. Where did it come from? How did such profoundly anti-intellectual sentiments find a home in American universities? To J. Wesley Null and Diane Ravitch, the problem lies in the great behemoth they call “Progressive Education.” In the early 20th century, the story goes, a small coterie of not-so-Great White Men— you know, guys with names like Kilpatrick, Thorndike, and Dewey—gained a foothold at Teachers College, Columbia... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: May 15, 2006
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12510, Date Accessed: 10/21/2017 1:50:50 PM

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About the Author
  • Jonathan Zimmerman
    Steinhardt School of Education, New York University
    E-mail Author
    JONATHAN ZIMMERMAN is Professor of Education and History at the Steinhardt School of Education, New York University. He also holds a part-time appointment in the Department of History of NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools (Harvard University Press, 2002). His next book, Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century, will be published by Harvard University Press in October 2006.
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