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That is not to say that progressive education has gone unchallenged.
Challenges increased in intensity starting in the 1950s, waxed and waned, and in the 1990s gained unprecedented strength.
In his 27 years at Teachers College, he taught some 35,000 students and was described by the New York Post as "the million dollar professor" because the fees paid by his students to the college exceeded this amount.
In some instances there were more than 650 students in a single one of his auditorium sized classes.
There should no more be conflict between content and pedagogy than between one's right foot and left foot.
Throughout the 20th century the "professional students of education" have militated for child centered discovery learning, and against systematic practice and teacher directed instruction.
Content is the answer to the question of what to teach, while pedagogy answers the question of how to teach. A choice of concentrated content precludes too much student centered, discovery learning, because that particular pedagogy requires more time than stiff content requirements would allow.
In the same way, the choice of a pedagogy can naturally limit the amount of content that can be presented to students. With roots going back to Jean Jacques Rousseau and with the guidance of John Dewey, progressive education has dominated American schools since the early years of the 20th century.
In some cases, progressivist math programs of the 1990s were intentionally without student textbooks, since books might interfere with student discovery.
The essence of the dictum from educators of the 1990s and late 1980s, that the teacher should be "a guide on the side and not a sage on the stage," was already captured in a statement from the principal of one of John Dewey's "schools of tomorrow" from the 1920s: The teacher's arbitrary assignment of the next ten pages in history, or nine problems in arithmetic, or certain descriptions in geography, cannot be felt by the pupil as a real problem and a personal problem.