“A movement that began in the late 1930s and was led by William C. Bagley, a leading teacher educator and educational psychologist at Teachers College, Columbia University. Essentialism emphasized high-quality curriculum for all students, teachers as knowledgeable authorities in the classroom, and strong teaching profession rooted in high-quality teacher education. Bagley and other Essentialists opposed progressive ideas, such as child-centered classrooms and the assertion that problem solving should replace academic subject matter.”
Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.