How to argue for progressive education
A few weeks back, just after the publication of Progressively Worse, I noticed how few serious attempts there were to argue for progressive education on the basis of anything resembling empirical evidence, or coherent reasoning. Out of frustration, I tweeted a guide to arguing for progressive education in the way is it normally done on Twitter and in blogs.
Here is the full list:
1. Disagreement with a progressive is a personal attack.
2. Personal attacks on traditionalists aren’t personal attacks.
3. If all else fails, object to the tone of somebody’s argument.
4. Claim nobody really disagrees with you and anyone who says they do is wrong.
5. Anyone who disagrees, hasn’t understood (but make no attempt to remedy the misunderstanding)
6. Disagreement is only acceptable from certain types. Non-teachers or new teachers are not allowed.
7. Anyone who disagrees with you, just doesn’t care as much as you do. Which is a lot.
8. Education debate should be beyond politics.
9. If you disagree with me, then you have the wrong sort of political views.
10. Claim anyone who disagrees is oppressing, harassing or restricting professional autonomy.
11. Claim that your views are based on science.
12. Claim science doesn’t apply here.
13. Object to a word used in an opposing argument, but reject all alternative words for expressing the same idea too.
14. Observe that anyone disagreeing thinks they are right and imply this is a bad thing.
15. Claim to agree with the opposing argument, than continue to act and talk as if you don’t.
16. Have a conversation with another progressive about how wrong the opposing argument is.
17. Have a chat with another progressive about how vile the person disagreeing with you is.
18. If anything you said was too offensive to defend, claim it was satire or irony.
19. Complain that, while logically correct, the opposing argument is not really persuasive.
20. Deny all knowledge of the debate you are having (including your own position and arguments).
21. Claim, without justification, that the flaws in your argument apply to the opposing argument.
22. Claim it works for your students. (Provide no evidence).
23. Accuse anyone who is not convinced that it works for your students of calling you a liar.
25. See below:
Courtesy of Andrew Old at Scenes from the Battleground