Fass' The Progressive, the Immigrant, and the School

The Progressive,
the Immigrant,
and the School


Paula Fass


  • Imperfect understanding of common school of 19thC is more clear.
    entwined in developing capitalist economy
    ethos of republicanism
    values of ebullient Prot mid class
    broadly socializing experience.
  • hoped for Outcomes
    high-minded character
    rel derived morality
    industriousnss oriented to social progress
    virtues to effective rep citizenship
  • reformers labored to make a least limited exposure to pub supported sch available to most Americans.
  • By late 19th C fate of republic not in ques
  • issues of morality, character, virtue eclipsed by economic success, loyalty to state, incorporation of heter pop in pluralistic society.
  • scholarship becomes more important.
  • old problems more insistent now.
  • probs of indust urban imm society falls on schools once again.
  • social groups seek to change schools in self-interested way:
    unions, socialits, city managers, mayors, teacher's orgs, middle-class reformers, journalists, suffragettes, women's clubs, social workers, school prins, parents
  • Progressive Ed had lost the coherence since Dewey and Cremin.
  • look at cultural investments with which reformers endowed schooling.
  • trying to find essential ambiguities, latent in educational values at the turn of the century to understand why progressive ed has been compelling and problematic in 20th C.
  • Reformers articulated concerns of time but also helped set the agenda for century to come.
  • Basic paradox of American culture: Amer existence based on expansion and infusion of outsiders, yet outsiders threaten fabric of America.
  • Thus: how could a culture that was newly stabilized in 19th C maintain hist roots and be diverse?
  • 2 assumptions:
    educ was a social good
    everyone should be educated and could be educated
  • These fundamental to progressive ed endeavors.