"This is an insightful, provocative, and highly readable book. . . . The book is a valuable work that makes a substantial contribution to current debates over educational theory and research. . . . General readers will find the author's argument rich, provocative, and quite likely persuasive. Specialists in education and psychology will find it one that commands their attention and compels serious reflection." Edward A. Purcell, Historian.
"This book should inspire thoughtful consideration among teachers, parents, and educational policy makers." James S. Taylor, Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies.
"An engagingly-written scholarly treatise. . . . What makes the book relevant to people who are interested in today's educational agenda is that Spencer's theories have been revived and repeated in almost every wave of educational reform. . . . While Getting It Wrong from the Beginning is aimed at education professionals rather than political ones, those who work with education policy could find a bit of ammunition within these pages." Diana West, National Journal.
"The most impressive evidence Egan offers is a series of
quotations from Spencer that could have been plucked straight from
the progressive textbooks used in education schools today."
Lynne V. Cheney. Education Next. Fall, 2003.
"Egan's forceful rejection of the progressive legacy is more
about his sense of science than his politics. Spencer, Dewey and
Piaget presented themselves as modern researchers with exciting
new insights. Dr. Egan judges them without sympathy: he says their
science was bad, and their continuing influence worse."
Peter Temes. New York Times, Section 4A, Books, p.34,
"His rejection of some of [the] leading thinkers, especially the Victorian Herbert Spencer, is informed and well fashioned. Commentators often rely on secondary sources about those they attack. Egan dissects the original. . . . Strong on analysis." Ted Wragg, Times Educational Supplement.
"In developing his case against the "damaging bromides"
of Spencer-and their steady institutionalization by Dewey and Kilpatrick
in teachers' colleges and K-12 public schools-Egan looks carefully
at the real effects of "child-centered" education, psychological
"developmentalism," and what he usefully calls the "biologized
view of mind" that changed curricula all over the Anglo-American
world from commonsense transmitters of the cultural achievements
of mankind to present-minded, experimental, experiential, naturalistic,
and unchallenging approaches."
M.D. Aeschliman. National Review, May 5th.2003.
The book has a wonderful centering effect when superimposed on the
cacophony, muffling all the bickering and drawing the reader into
a marvellously focused consideration of the one thing that really
matters in education: do educators really know what they're doing
with our kids?
Egan asserts that they basically don't. And he presents a pretty good
argument to support his thesis that all the major theorists in education
for the past 150 years have been wrong about how kids learn, and that
much of curricular design and teaching methodology, which are based
on those flawed theories, is unsuccessful
Karin Litzcke. The Republic. March 20th. 2003.