Tag Archives: Progressive Era

The Authors of the Interesting Stuff in my Third Grader’s Textbook

A company called Pearson publishes the Scott Foresman textbook used in my third-grader’s class, “Communities.”

I posted about this textbook recently, and I mentioned research on the authors of this book.  Here are the results of this research:

Valerie Ooka Pang has written a book about the unmet needs of Asian Pacific American children.  She teach courses in multicultural education, social studies methods, curriculum & instruction, and social foundations.  She is interested in culturally meaningful teaching.

Rita Geiger is currently a trainer for lessons on the First Amendment.  She recently spoke at an event entitled, “Mean Speech:  Emotion + Words and the First Amendment.”  At this event, attendees discussed whether a lack of civility in our political discourse is eroding our First Amendment values.

(Huh.  What does civility have to do with freedom of speech?)

Sara Miranda Sanchez is a specialist in early childhood education.  She is recognized as a national leader in multicultural education teacher training.

Dr. James B. Kracht serves as Director of the Texas Social Studies Center for Educator Development.  He has recently written about educators moving in a new direction, towards “authentic assessment,” as an addition to traditional testing.

No, I do not know what “authentic assessment” is, even after reading the article.  Follow the link and see if you can suss it out.

Candy Boyd is an educator, activist, and novelist.  Educating people about their positive potential is her priority. As a high school student, she tried to stop blockbusting in her native Chicago by convincing an African American, a Jew, and a Protestant to join her in personal visits to two hundred white families.  She worked as an organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. When she earned her degree she became known, in her own words, as a “militant teacher.”

C. Frederick Risinger is a Director of the School of Education at Indiana University.  One of his publications is entitled, “Women’s Issues in an Era of Inclusion.”

Finally, Geneva Gay is a Professor of Education at the University of Washington, where she teaches multicultural education and general curriculum theory.

(What’s General Curriculum Theory?  A degree that proves you have spent considerable time and money to demonstrate you know how to teach and you understand current educational theory.  What’s Current Educational Theory?  Oh, I dunno, I give up.)

Geneva Gay has some very interesting quotes on the webz.  Unfortunately, these quotes are not backed up by verifiable sources.  Flippin’ hearsay. 

With that caveat in mind, here is the first statement:

In 1996, Geneva Gay of the University of Washington said at a National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) conference workshop that multiculturalist education demands the destruction of the American political and economic system.  She urged educators to be cautious about revealing their goals to the public, however.

Finally, Geneva Gay is claimed to have said:

“That a core problem is we don’t have a language to critique the social structures that bind us.  ‘English,’ she continued, ‘is the enemy of social justice and equality.’

Wow.  Makes me feel like Glenn Beck, finding statements like these.  Remember, however, that these quotes are unconfirmed hearsay.


A crack team of multiculturalists, aren’t they?  No wonder my kid is learning about the immigrant who painted a depiction of Washington crossing the Delaware, instead of actually learning about Washington crossing the Delaware.

UPDATE:  The heavens have parted, and the sun’s rays have shone down on my little bitty blog while an angel chorus sings softly, “Innn-staaah-laaaaaaaaache . . . .”

Thank you, Glenn Reynolds.

Gosh, do Instalanches make anyone else nervous?

UPDATE #2:  A personal defense of one author has served as a reminder that I do not know these people personally, and thus I should keep snark to a minimum.  Consequently, I have removed a joke about the name “Texas Social Studies Center for Educator Development.”

Progressivism in the Wind

Random things in life sometimes tie together seamlessly.

Random Thing #1:  During my boys’ Saturday morning soccer games, a gust of wind blew a sheet of paper onto the field.  It belonged to no one around me.  It was from an Advanced Placement history test, covering the Progressive Movement:

The Progressive Movement focused on curing the serious evils of society, unfortunately, it was only a partial success.  How did the muckrakers’ and political leaders’ activities prove or disprove the generalization?

For most of my life, and maybe yours too, the phrase “Progressive Movement” held little significance.  Many phrases evoke a memory of school, but no remembrance of the actual meaning.  You know, like “Pythagorean theorem.”  (If you know that one, don’t gloat.)

Then last year I read an amazing nonfiction book called State Boys Rebellion.  In it, Michael D’Antonio explains that eugenics was a central element to early Progressive ideology.  He also separated the social “do-good” progressivism from the “far-left progressivism that gained strength after 1929.”  I have not yet learned enough history to understand this difference.  If you do, please feel free to gloat and educate me.


Do you know what “eugenics” is?  A concept that built upon Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  Its proponents sought to apply the principles of selective breeding to human beings.  Positive eugenics sought to encourage white, upper-class families to have large families.  Negative eugenics, naturally, attempted to prevent the genetically unworthy from breeding.

The Nazis were big fans.  Hitler wrote that  The Passing of the Great Race, by American eugenics proponent Madison Grant, was his “Bible.” 

Funny how the word “eugenics” quickly disappeared from our collective vocabulary.  Maybe understandable, that we choose to forget a rather embarrassing bit of history.  Nothing about it in my history lessons.  No mention in my niece’s 8th grade history book.

But it’s weird, that the term “progressive” has such positive connotations now.  So many folks apply it to themselves.  When in truth, the movement has a dark undercurrent.  Eugenics.  Paternalism.  Elitism and racism.


After picking up that A.P. History page, I kept trying to recall facts about the Progressive Era.  I don’t remember much.  Upton Sinclair, vague notions of child labor restrictions, labor reform, concern over slums, eugenics, and prohibition come to mind.  That’s about it. 

Random Thing #2:  Today, which is Mother’s Day, my husband gave me A Patriot’s History of the United States.  Naturally, I peeked ahead to the years when the Progressive Era began.  Turns out, Republican Teddy Roosevelt was one of the first prominent progressives.  Apparently, he was

a social Darwinist who liked the notion that there existed an intellectual hierarchy among men, and that only “the best and brightest” should lead. . . . In Roosevelt’s mind, if the brilliant individual or the visionary man knew best how to reform society, he should do so with whatever tools he had at his disposal, including government.

Then, a Teddy Roosevelt quote really jumped out at me:

“We don’t wish to destroy corporations,” he generously noted, “but we do wish to make them subserve the public good.”

It jumped out at me because it sounds just like something our current President recently said. 

Which leads to Random Thing #3:  I heard the following quote while listening to Rush Limbaugh today.  President Obama’s words:

I don’t want government any more than is necessary, but there’s some things that Bob or any CEO can’t invest in. Bob’s not going to build the roads to get to Celgard. No company is going to make investments for a public good.

Implied in both of these comments is the astonishing view that corporations do not serve the public good on their own.  Roosevelt felt that they must be forced to, and Obama feels that they are completely unable to, therefore the government must step in.

Under this belief system, furnishing jobs, paying taxes, and creating new wealth does not constitute a sufficient public benefit.  In A Patriot’s History, the authors point out the fact that “Teddy never appreciated what it took to meet a payroll or to balance a firm’s books.”

The same can be safely stated about our current, community-organizing President.  (Also most of his cabinet, by the way.)

In anticipation of the usual “don’t drive on the roads then, you tax-hating anarchist” drivel, let me just state:  road-building is a perfectly appropriate thing for a limited government to spend our tax dollars on.  My point is not that government has no place, no proper function.  My point is, the words of these leaders demonstrate that they trust the government to solve problems, but not the private sector.  And they just don’t quite understand How the World Works

I better finish up.  Want to know how the world really works?  Read this memo a young entrepreneur wrote to his employees about the increase in minimum wage.