Home > Uncategorized > Jamelle Bouie is Right: John Lewis and John Dewey ARE Kindred Spirits

Jamelle Bouie is Right: John Lewis and John Dewey ARE Kindred Spirits

July 31, 2020

NYTimes op ed columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote a column today praising John Lewis and comparing his advocacy for civil rights with John Dewey’s advocacy for democracy. The column compelled me to leave this comment:

John Dewey would weep to see how public education has devolved. The tests we administer to “measure” schools have no relationship to the skills required to sustain democracy today. Worse the test-and-punish system in place since the advent of NCLB does nothing to really Dewey’s view of a democratic society “…where each person could develop their “distinctive capacities” to the fullest and then use them for the sake of their communities” When schools eliminate the arts to relentlessly focus on improving test scores they do nothing to develop the “distinctive capabilities” of thousands of students and, as a result, deny communities of their services.

America’s democratic spirit is sapped when the classrooms are focussed exclusively on boosting standardized test scores. A comparison of the offerings available to students in “successful” schools– those serving children in affluent families— with those available to students in “failing” schools– those serving children raised in poverty– illustrates how test-driven metrics plays out in an anti-democratic fashion.

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