But the division between paternalism and progressivism is not a bright line. As Jay Mathews makes clear in Work Hard. Be Nice, public schools are hardly dominated by romantics who think students can teach themselves. And the new urban schools Whitman admires embrace a range of progressive priorities, from educating the “whole child” to building field trips into the curriculum.
If a good school is like a finely shaded drawing, the nth generation replication of the school's original idea is like a xerox of a xerox of a xerox of the drawing. That's more worrisome than whatever critique you might have of the original.