So That All May Learn - The Story of the Springfield Public Schools

 From Education for Living in a Democracy

In colorful, dramatic contrast to the old-time school, is the active progressive classroom, which represents an effort to change from more passive absorption of vicarious knowledge, to a vital, living knowledge learned from first-hand experience--from meeting practical problems and trying to solve them, or helping to solve them. Here boys and girls are doing things--and learning by doing, in a way they cannot forget. - Education for Living in a Democracy, the Superintendent's Report, 1938.

We of the school staff need to enlarge and deepen our concepts if we are to be intelligent leaders of youth through wide reading, through firsthand observations, and through discussion. Having done this we can plan with and for pupils' experiences which will develop a better understanding of democracy according to their level of ability.

We do not mean democracy in the sense of a theoretical system of society or as a vague, Utopian dream, but as a way of living which extends into all the relationships of life. This demands that we make each school a miniature democracy in which pupils have abundant opportunities to live together in a cooperative manner sharing in common interests and purposes on the basis of intelligent understandings; that we increase the breadth and depth of their understandings of how society is organized, how it functions, and how it might function better for the good of all; and that we plan with children experiences which will reveal to them the values of clear thinking, of intelligent self-direction, and of accepting full responsibility for their actions in every significant situation.- Education for Living in a Democracy, the Superintendent's report, 1938

I close on a note of warning. We must remember that no method of teaching is a substitute for original native ability. Education, under any system, does not produce brains. It only helps them to function.

We believe that the methods of 'progressive education' will mobilize and utilize native ability more effectively than the methods of conventional memory schools.

But it will not produce a nation wholly free from the shadow of mediocrity and worse. Blood still will tell. - Education for Living a Democracy, the Superintendent's Report, 1938.

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