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“Progressive” Education Is Subverting America

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Part of the Historical Studies in Education book series (HSE)

Abstract

The 1950s were years of intense political struggle in the United States, as different groups vied to assert their competing visions of the good society. This political struggle over the direction of American democracy changed the educational landscape in California and throughout the nation. Despite the active struggle of the African American freedom movement, which was laying the groundwork that would develop into the social movements of the 1960s, political discourse in the 1950s was dominated by the Right and marked by the paranoid atmosphere of the Cold War. The educational vision of Helen Heffernan and Corinne Seeds, shaped by their early experiences in the working-class West, their embrace of Deweyan ideas, and their unwavering commitment to New Deal liberalism, was deeply at odds with the world of the 1950s, in which claims that had earlier seemed the rantings of an extremist fringe were increasingly accepted as common sense. In the early 1950s, Corinne Seeds was coming to the end of her career. She had survived the attack on her school and the investigation of the Tenney Committee. After the dedication of the new school building on the UCLA campus in 1950, Seeds retreated more and more to the world of the University Elementary Schol. Helen Heffernan, on the other hand, continued to be a powerful public voice defending the progressive vision of public education and was more and more the target of virulent right-wing attacks.

Keywords

Public School Grade Method Progressive Education Teacher Guide Mutual Friend 
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Notes

  1. 16.
    Burton Brazil, “The 1950 Election in California,” Western Political Quarterly 4, no. 1 (March 1951): 67–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 18.
    Helen Heffernan, “Symposium on School-Community Relationships,” CJEE, 19 (August 1950): 129–35.Google Scholar
  3. 20.
    Roy Simpson, “Dividends from Public Education,” California Schools 21, no. 8 (August 1950): 294.Google Scholar
  4. 22.
    David Gardner, “By Oath and Association: The California Folly,” Journal of Higher Education, 40, no. 2 (February 1969): 125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 26.
    Helen Heffernan, “Obsolescence of Instructional Materials,” California Schools 23, no. 12 (December 1952): 525.Google Scholar
  6. 40.
    Kathleen Weiler, “The Case of Martha Deane,” History of Education Quarterly 107, no. 12 (Fall 2007): 470–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 57.
    Michael Klarman, “How Brown Changed Race Relations,” Journal of American History 81, no. 1 (June 1994): 81–118; Clayborne Carson, “Two Cheers for Brown v. Board of Education,” Journal of American History 91, no. 1 (June 2004): 26–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 59.
    Helen Heffernan, “Report of a Conference on Inequalities of Educational Opportunity,” California Schools 24, no. 5 (May 1953): 171.Google Scholar
  9. 60.
    Helen Heffernan, “Some Solutions to Problems of Students of Mexican Descent,” The Bulletin of the National Association of Secondary School Principals 39, no. 209 (March 1955): 43–53.Google Scholar

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© Kathleen Weiler 2011

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