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Re: Ravitch on Cremins

He was her doctoral advisor. She writes an informative tribute at ...



>>> gbracey@EROLS.COM 02/26 8:35 AM >>>
If I recall properly, Ravitch was Cremin's protegee.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Allen Flanigan." <Allen.Flanigan@USPTO.GOV>
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 12:25 PM
Subject: Ravitch on Cremins

> Interestingly, Diane Ravitch, author of the book George C. recommends
> highly, praises Cremin fulsomely, calls him the "consummate scholar", and
> says that his The Transformation of The School: Progressivism in American
> Education 1876-1957 "remains the authoritative work on the subject of
> progressivism in education".
> I suppose I should find time to read "Left Back", or other works of
> Ravitch's, if only to find out for myself whether Ravitch has followed her
> own admonition to historians of education (need we limit it to education?)
> to be contextual and "latitudinal" (studying not just schools and
> but all of the influences, family, church, school, and other social
> phenomena and institutions that tend to educate either directly or
> indirectly) or whether she succumbed to the scholarly temptation of the
> "abridgement of history", the tendency to oversimplify the past by viewing
> it strictly through the lens of the present.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: kber@EARTHLINK.NET [mailto:kber@EARTHLINK.NET]
> Sent: Monday, February 25, 2002 9:18 PM
> To: ARN-L@listsrva.CUA.EDU
> Subject: a second selection from Cremins
> which might help people understand why I value him so highly
> Ken
> Cremin on:
> An approach to educational history
> My argument in these lectures has been for renewed attention to
> context, complexity, and relationship
> in our discussions of education, past, present, and future. Contrary
> to the drift of a good deal of
> scholarly opinion during the past ten years, I happen to believe that
> on balance the American education
> system has contributed significantly to the advancement of liberty,
> equality, and fraternity, in that
> complementarity and tension that mark the relations among them in a
> free society. I have reached that
> belief on the basis of evidence that is admittedly mixed and with a
> willingness to grant major
> imperfections in performance. The institutions of American education
> are human institutions; they have
> been guilty of their full share of evil, venality, and failure, and my
> phrase "on balance" is intended to
> take account of the fact. But it is also intended to convey my sense
> that the aspirations of American
> education have been more noble than base, and that its performance
> over the past two centuries has
> been more liberating of a greater diversity of human energies and
> potentialities than has been the case
> in most other eras and in most other places. As a historian, I believe
> it is important to make
> judgments, but I also believe that the judgments should be of this
> world and not some other.
> However that may be, my judgment in this matter is less important than
> the fundamental fact of
> complexity. I do not mean to suggest that the educational system is so
> complicated and intractable that
> nothing should be done until we learn more. I mean rather to urge that
> we go beyond studies that
> analyze the family or the church or the school or television in
> isolation and then pronounce on their
> educational effects, and beyond studies that scrutinize people through
> a single lens of class or race or
> religion or ethnicity and, once again, pronounce on educational
> outcomes. Individual institutions and
> individual variables are important, to be sure; but it is the ways in
> which they pattern themselves and
> relate to one another that give them their educational significance,
> and the ways in which their outcomes
> confirm, complement, or contradict one another that determine their
> educational effects. In sum,
> complexity has marked American education from the beginning, and I
> would hope for a renewed
> appreciation of the inescapable fact of complexity in our discussions
> of educational theory and policy
> during the years immediately ahead.
> From Traditions of American education, pp. 127-128.
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