Not once in a century and a half of national history has the curriculum of the school caught up with the dynamic content of American life. Whether of colonial reading or reckoning school, Latin grammar school, academy, or modern junior high school, the curriculum has lagged behind the current civilization. Although the gap between the two has been markedly cut down in the last three-quarters of a century, nevertheless the American school has been essentially academic. Today, much of the gap persists.
-- Harold O. Rugg, "The School Curriculum and the Drama of American Life
", Teachers College Record
, Volume 28 Number 9, 1927, p.3)
On May 17th, 1960, Harold Ordway Rugg, long-time Professor in the Department of Social and Philosophical Foundations at Teachers College, Columbia University died. Rugg was an influential educational reformer and one of the best-known educators during the Progressive Education Movement. Trained as an engineer and educational psychologist, he co-founded the National Council for the Social Studies and became a prolific writer of curriculum. He authored a series of Social Science Pamphlets and an impactful social studies textbooks series for grades one through eight that drew extensive controversy in being viewed as pro-socialist, communist, or anti-capitalist.
The son of a carpenter, Harold Rugg was born May 17th, 1886 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He earned a BA and Masters' in civil engineering from Dartmouth College. He taught at Milliken University before pursuing a doctorate in education from the University of Illinois. He taught at the University of Chicago before moving on to Teachers College, Columbia University in 1920 where he remained until his retirement in 1951. His book The Child-Centered School: An Appraisal of the New Education
(Yonkers on Hudson: World Book Company, c1928), co-written by Ann Shumaker spoke to the importance of child-centered curriculum and social reconstruction.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers
, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- Special to The Christian Science Monitor. (1921, May 20). The Progressive Movement. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Curriculum Revised by Social Science. (1923, Oct 15). The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- 'Warless Histories' Endorsed by Many American Teachers. (1929, Feb 10). New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- Bird, C. (1933, Feb 05). Engineering Our Way Out of Depression Trenches. The Washington Post (1923-1954)
- Education Is Held Democracy Basis. (1936, Nov 22). New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Special to The New York Times. (1940, Aug 29). Rugg's Books Bared From More Schools. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Rugg Hits Back at Criticism of His Texts as Red. (1940, Oct 03). New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- Special to the Herald Tribune. (1941, Apr 07). Rugg's Books Are Called Free of Subversion. New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- Studios, B. (1951, May 05). Rugg, Whose Texts Drew Wide Criticism, To Retire From Teachers College Faculty. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Special to the Herald Tribune (1960, May 18). Harold Rugg Dies; Author of Textbooks. New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- Parker, F. (1963, Aug 04). And Finally: Insight. The Austin American (1914-1973)
- Harold Rugg Faculty File -- includes a vitae, correspondences, memorandum, and Rugg's analysis of the attack on the textbooks he published
- Harold O Rugg Collection --includes digitalized curriculum materials, including textbooks, workbooks, and courses of study
- Books by Harold O Rugg held at the Gottesman Libraries
- Harold Rugg, Courtesy of Teachers College, Columbia University
- Special Slide, Courtesy of Edlab Studies
Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news
from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events
from an educational context. Be sure to check the news
postings on Learning at the Library
, where you can delve into history.