“Progressive” Education Is Subverting America

Part of the Historical Studies in Education book series (HSE)


The 1950s were years of intense political struggle in the United States, as different groups vied to assert their competing visions of the good society. This political struggle over the direction of American democracy changed the educational landscape in California and throughout the nation. Despite the active struggle of the African American freedom movement, which was laying the groundwork that would develop into the social movements of the 1960s, political discourse in the 1950s was dominated by the Right and marked by the paranoid atmosphere of the Cold War. The educational vision of Helen Heffernan and Corinne Seeds, shaped by their early experiences in the working-class West, their embrace of Deweyan ideas, and their unwavering commitment to New Deal liberalism, was deeply at odds with the world of the 1950s, in which claims that had earlier seemed the rantings of an extremist fringe were increasingly accepted as common sense. In the early 1950s, Corinne Seeds was coming to the end of her career. She had survived the attack on her school and the investigation of the Tenney Committee. After the dedication of the new school building on the UCLA campus in 1950, Seeds retreated more and more to the world of the University Elementary Schol. Helen Heffernan, on the other hand, continued to be a powerful public voice defending the progressive vision of public education and was more and more the target of virulent right-wing attacks.


Public School Grade Method Progressive Education Teacher Guide Mutual Friend 
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© Kathleen Weiler 2011

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