The John Dewey Project on Progressive Education is pleased to announce
that we have awarded grants to several organizations and individuals
for media projects that focus on placing stories and commentaries in the
popular and independent media that promote progressive perspectives on education
and educational policy within the United States.
With the recent bi-partisan passing of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, educators around the country are expressing concerns about the Bush Administration's effect on good practices and democratic ideals. A U.S. Department of Education official was quoted as saying that the administration wants to put an end to "creativity in the classroom." These views are backed up by the NCLB mandates for student testing in every grade from 3 to 10. School districts and states are scrambling to make sense of the new federal mandates, raising concerns about the costs of a heavy testing regime on budgets and teacher and student morale. Calls for accountability are ringing throughout public education, in what is often touted as a new era in education.
The criticism of the educational system has been relentless, and propagated by an intricate network of conservative think tanks and marketing firms have teamed with a number of conservative philanthropic foundations to support the proliferation of the conservative perspectives and to promote a conservative educational agenda that includes: the privatization of public schools, high stakes testing, the commercialization of education, the characterization of unions as bad for education, and, most recently, an organized attack on the merits of teacher education programs.
Within this charged context, very little media attention is being given
to alternative stories concerning effective teaching and learning: teaching
practices that take into account the whole child and diverse learning styles,
while attending to a student's social development as well as academic achievement.
At stake is the future of the educational system in the United States and
its role in sustaining a free, open and democratic society.
These media projects will include:
Funds for the Democratic Education Media Fund come from a grant from the New Visions Foundation. No state or federal funds or student tuition dollars are being used in the administration of this program.