by Locker Room contributor
Lewis S. Feuer, in Marx and the Intellectuals (1969), reported that Dewey lamented his lack of “the necessary literate skill” to proclaim to America the “achievements” of the schools and policies in the USSR, and that he was envious that in the USSR, as opposed to the USA, intellectuals “have a task that is total and constructive. They are organic members of an organic going movment.” Here is Dewey’s vision as discussed by John Taylor Gotto, the 1991 New York State Teacher of the Year, in “Our Prussian School System” (Cato Policy Report 15, no. 2, March/April 1993)
In 1896 John Dewey said that independent, self-reliant people would be a counterproductive anachronism in the collective society of the future. In modern society, said Dewey, people would be defined by their associations ? the group to which they belonged ? not by their own individual accomplishments. … Dewey said that the great mistake of traditional pedagogy had been to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of early schoolwork. He advocated the whole-word method, not because the latter was more efficient (he admitted it was less efficient), but because reading hard books produces independent thinkers, thinkers who cannot be socialized very easily. By socialized Dewey meant conditioned to a program of social objectives administered by the best social thinkers in government. That was a giant step on the road to state socialism, and it was a vision radically disconnected from America’s past, its historic hopes and dreams.