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Education and Democracy

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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"But, if education be equally diffused, it will draw property after it by the strongest of all attractions; for such a thing never did happen, as that an intelligent and practical body of men should be permanently poor."

He truly believed no child should be left behind. Education should be provided equally for all. He championed and campaigned for it. He established teacher training schools and district libraries. He won financial backing for public education. His influence extended way beyond Massachusetts.

He called free public education a morally mandated right. He said America "owes a vast economical debt to (ordinary people) whose labor (have) been mainly instrumental in rearing the great material structures of which we so often boast."

He argued that "every wise, humane measure adopted for their welfare, directly promotes our own security. For (their children) will soon possess the rights of men, whether they possess the characters of men or not."

In 1848, he resigned his post to serve in Congress. He replaced John Quincy Adams who died in office. Besides his passion for universal public education, he became an important anti-slavery spokesman. 

In 1853, he became Antioch College president three years after its founding. In that capacity, he implemented his educational ideas in higher education.

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Two months before his August 1859 death, he said:

"I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words: Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Ideas he fostered and championed are fast disappearing. Some final comments on that below.

John Dewey was an America philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer. He advocated progressive education and liberalism. He considered an educated public fundamental to democracy.

He believed education should be freely available to everyone from kindergarten to college. His progressive education ideas were later codified as follows:

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(1) Student conduct "shall be governed by themselves, according to the social needs of" society.

(2) "Interest shall be the motive for all work."

(3) Teachers should inspire a desire to learn. They should be guides in the educational process.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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