Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Importance of Being UrbanDesigning the Progressive School District, 1890-1940$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David A. Gamson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226634548

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226634685.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021



District Progressives and the Progressive School District

(p.1) Introduction
The Importance of Being Urban

David A. Gamson

University of Chicago Press

The book’s opening chapter introduces key concepts that rest at the core of The Importance of Being Urban and identifies the years between 1913 and 1928 as crucial to the forging of district progressivism. Several dilemmas faced Progressive Era school leaders in the early twentieth century; among them was the challenge of harnessing the exciting pedagogical experiments emerging in small, often independent, schools and spreading those innovations throughout large urban districts. Gamson argues that by examining school reform at the level of the urban school system, one sees that “district progressives” often blended approaches that historians have viewed as incompatible, such as hands-on, child-centered instructional practices with more rigid testing and tracking initiatives. Through a comparative analysis of school systems in four western cities—Oakland, Denver, Portland, and Seattle—he demonstrates how the willful eclecticism of district practitioners often mirrored that of municipal leaders. The introduction raises central questions that will be explored throughout the book, including: what did it mean to be a progressive school district? And how did progressives blend science and efficiency with democratic practices in ways that they believed ultimately offered students equal educational opportunities?

Keywords:   district progressives, district-wide reform, historiography, Progressive Era, municipal reform, school districts, urban school districts, urban schools, democracy, progressive education

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.