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Dewey is still in the room: A closer look at Lawrence Cremin’s “Public education and the education of the public”

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  1. Introduction
  2. Cremin's view on Dewey's ?Democracy and Education?
  3. Cremin's and Dewey's view on Experiential learning
  4. Conclsuion

In his speech ?Public Education and the Education of the Public? first published in 1975, Lawrence Cremin questions the polarity between education and society in the John Dewey's progressive theory, saying that it ?does not sufficiently particularize the educational situation as it actually exists?. He asserts that the problem of polarity is apparent in ?the classic statement of the progressive theory?, Dewey's Democracy and Education and urges ?a revision of the progressive theory that [he] believes details the situation more effectively? (1546).

[...] When Cremin says ?Whatever is done must be done with an awareness of what has gone on and what is going on elsewhere? (1553), he is telling his readers that the origins of education are as important as its present-day state. How then can Cremin criticize Dewey when Dewey addresses the origins of institutions? It is very difficult for an audience to attach any significant amount of credibility to the argument that Laurence Cremin is attempting to justify if he cannot maintain an adequate line of consistency. [...]


[...] Cremin criticizes Dewey for lingering too extensively on origins of institutions of institutions rather than their functions? (1549) saying that question of origins may not be central to the argument? (1549) and that forms of education outside of that of the school are intentional though in different ways and in different measures? (1549). Dewey contends that the importance lies in the fact that ?those of us who are here today need to go back to find a time when the household was practically the center in which were carried on all typical forms of industrial occupation? (297). [...]

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