City of Gary

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by jseanlink
Last updated 7 years ago

Social Studies
American History

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City of Gary

The organizational and educational scheme embodied by the Gary Plan was different from traditionally structured schools of the time. The plan was seen as an educational prototype set up and tested on children of the new industrial families of the early 20th century. Wirt’s plan received a considerable amount of attention across the United States from school, business, and political leaders at that time—some praising the plan but many being critical and actually rebelling against the education reforms. For some proponents, the plan was seen as having major economic benefits, such as reducing overcrowding in schools and encouraging new, more cost-efficient facilities. For progressive education advocates, the plan provided a social setting in which children learned by doing and were enculturated into society’s core values.

Progressive School System1920-1960

Lasting Impact

It was tial and error, but no matter the outcome, progressive philosophies would have lasting effects on our public schools.



Dismantling Progressive

The Gary work-study-play schools barely survived the depression years, when budgets were severely cut (and most platoon schools were abandoned throughout the country), and then Wirt's death came in 1938. Following an external study in 1940, which recommended dismantling the system, now considered old-fashioned and academically weak, the Gary schools began the slow process, not completed until the 1960s, of instituting the contained classroom, single-teacher model in the elementary grades (which were separate from the eight high schools by 1960). For the remainder of the century, with the mass exodus of whites, along with much of the business community, Gary's troubled schools managed to survive. They had long since lost their progressive luster, as the 25,000 African-American students (there were few others by 1990) from struggling families, an aging teacher corps, and shrinking federal dollars meant that the schools faced numerous problems into the foreseeable future..




Progressive SchoolingIntroduced:Class ChangesVocational ClassesPhysical Education


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