In the fall of 2013, we established the Progressive Education Consortium to explore questions that are often missing from most current professional development and many teacher preparation programs. Our collaboration sought to discover ways progressive education ideals can protect the wonder of childhood and the art of teaching amidst the bombardment of test-driven local, state, and federal mandates. This example of interchange between current educators and pre-service teachers has provided an opportunity to connect educators and influence the direction of educational discourse in our respective schools.
The Progressive Education Consortium began with nine members: two teachers and an administrator from The Children’s School, an independent, K-8 progressive school in Berwyn, Illinois; two teachers and an administrator from Hubbard Woods Elementary School, a public, K-4 school in the historically progressive Winnetka, Illinois school district; and two pre-service teachers and a professor from Northeastern Illinois University, an urban, public university in Chicago. The philosophies of these three institutions situate them in a progressive tradition, albeit practiced differently in the schools than in the university. Further, each articulates a common belief in the deep potential of children and seeks to develop learning environments that allow for children’s (and adults’) full humanity to be expressed and their voices to be heard.
The Progressive Education Consortium is interested in expanding its efforts in the coming year with more NEIU students, teachers, and potentially additional partner schools. If you are interested in getting involved or would like more information, please contact Professor Brian Schultz at firstname.lastname@example.org.