In the mid-19th century, traditional curricula often centered on classical Greek and Latin texts and preparation for universities – which were both hierarchical and exclusive by design. In response, progressive education
began to emerge in the late 1800s, championed by educational reformers from John Dewey
to Caroline Pratt
. In progressive schools, learning could be active and hands-on, collaborative and student-driven – and deeply engaged with contemporary society.
In the 21st century, progressive education "engages students as active participants in their learning and in society [...] responds to contemporary issues from a progressive educational perspective [and] promotes diversity, equity, and justice" (Progressive Education Network