School reformers’ names are often forgotten. Except for John Dewey who died in 1952. His name continues to resonate among supporters and opponents of his ideas about school, society, curriculum, and teaching. But Dewey is an exception, not the rule.
Save for historians of education, few educators could recall the reforms Superintendent William Wirt engineered in Gary (IN) in 1906 that made him a nationally known reformer. His Platoon Schools became the basis of the modern elementary school. Or former teacher, superintendent, and professor David Snedden whose writings helped establish the modern vocational high school during the early decades of the 20th century. Seldom do their names pop up a century later.
And even recent school reformers’ names disappear from media and conversations. For those high school principals and teachers, for example, who cut their teeth on reform as novice educators in the 1970s and 1980s, the name Ted Sizer
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