Friday, July 27, 2018

John Lawhead Study Group on John Dewey - Sat Aug. 4 12:30PM

It it is always great seeing John Lawhead at ICEUFT meetings as we did yesterday. John, Sean Ahern and I sort of founded the idea of ICE in a bar back in September 2003. Michael Fiorillo who spurred the idea of organizing a meeting when I ran into him at a UFT rally in October 2003 was also there yesterday. So one of the really fun things about getting together is the chance to delve deeply into issues - which we did yesterday - and I hope to report later.)

At the end of the meeting John announced he was organizing a study group. Study groups are important for us to get an understanding of the big picture from a long range perspective. We feel you can't make rational choices without having a deeper understanding - something missing from the current institutions - both in power and in opposition in the UFT. But more on that later. Here is John's announcement. I am hoping to go. John Dewey is a good starting place. His role in union politics in the 1930s is also worth delving into.
Dear Colleagues,

Please forward this announcement to anyone you think might be interested.

The John Dewey Reading Group

Meeting of August 4, 2018

12:30-2:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Central Library, Room 6

10 Grand Army Plaza

Brooklyn, NY 11238

Room 6 located in the Information Commons at the rear of the main lobby on the first floor. Take a 2 or 3 train to Grand Army Plaza or the Q to 7th Ave. Coffee is for sale at the cafĂ© in the lobby. No outside food is allowed in the room.

Topic:  "Education as a Necessity of Life"

Readings: Chapters 1 and 2 (about 30 pages) of Democracy and Education.

Let’s spend some time examining what John Dewey meant by education. He observes in the first chapter that schools are “one means, and compared with other agencies, a relatively superficial means” of transmitting knowledge and values. What are the other means of education?

Copies of the reading will be available at the meeting. Note that we will proceed at a pace the group agrees to and may not be able to cover both chapters.

The book can be accessed in digital format at this link:

A paginated kindle version is available from Amazon for 99 cents.

A free audiobook is also available from Librivox:

Who we are

We’re a group of parents, educators, and interested community members, meeting to discuss the writings of John Dewey (1859-1952) and related books and articles.

Many people are concerned about what children experience in school these days. What's most disturbing is not just that students are used as guinea pigs in a race for better achievement scores. It's that only rarely does anyone in the mainstream press pause to examine the faulty assumptions that sent public education into this infernal trajectory.

What should be the purpose of public education? What is the role of schools in a democratic society?

John Dewey was a highly original thinker who published books on philosophy, logic, ethics, psychology, politics, religion and art. He was an avid commentator on the events of his day who had both radical and conservative tendencies. He wrote with prescience in 1916: “A society with too few independent thinkers is vulnerable to control by disturbed and opportunistic leaders. A society which wants to create and maintain a free and democratic social system must create responsible independence of thought among its young.”

Please join us for a focused study and open discussion of the topics that Dewey confronted. We ask that everyone come prepared by completing the readings beforehand.  See you soon!


John Lawhead

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