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«Schools of Tomorrow,» Schools of Today

Progressive Education in the 21st Century – Second Edition


Edited By Susan F. Semel, Alan R. Sadovnik and Ryan W. Coughlan

The second edition of «Schools of Tomorrow,» Schools of Today: Progressive Education in the 21 st Century documents a new collection of child-centered progressive schools founded in the first half of the twentieth century and provides histories of some contemporary examples of progressive practices. Part I discusses six progressive schools founded in the first part of the twentieth century (City and Country; Dalton; the Weekday School at Riverside Church; The Laboratory School at the Institute of Child Study; Alabama State Teachers College Laboratory High School; and Highlander), tracing them from their beginnings. Part II examines four more contemporary schools (Central Park East 1; Central Park East Secondary; Learning Community Charter School; and KIPP TEAM Academy), showing how progressive practices gained momentum from the 1960s onward. As a volume in the History of Schools and Schooling series, this book seeks to look to the past for what it can teach us today.
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Chapter 2. The City and Country School: A Progressive Paradigm


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A Progressive Paradigm

Susan F. Semel

The City and Country School, located at 146 West 13th Street in New York City, occupies three connected landmark brownstones that appear to be a single building on a tree-lined street in the heart of Greenwich Village.1 Visitors to the school, especially non-New Yorkers looking for a more traditional school building, often walk right by it. Indeed, the school is marked only by a modest, brown, weather-beaten wooden sign bearing its name. To either side stand more brownstones—some of them having seen better days, others having been renovated by the influx of affluent “baby boomers.” Current real estate prices are steep for prospective newcomers; brownstones often start at several million dollars. Apartments, especially large ones that would accommodate growing families, are difficult to find and are usually sold or rented at top market prices. This neighborhood had traditionally attracted artistically inclined single people or couples without children who were drawn to its affordable rents, bohemian ambiance, and openness to alternative lifestyles and radical politics.

Today, in addition to its aging, long-term tenants on rent control or rent stabilization and its artists and writers, the neighborhood is home to newly affluent couples with children—that is to say “yuppies” attracted to the artsy, downtown, atmosphere of the Village. Thus, independent schools in this area ← 29 | 30 → can now draw from a steadily growing applicant pool....

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