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Chris Goodwin Mr. Radow Progressive Era 3/25/13 How Progressive Are We?

With the recent additions of social media and advancing technology, it is easy to see America as a land full of society-changers and reformers. However, that is far from the case. The rising generation is bringing new ideas and standards to society, but the current generations values are holding this change back. With the new generation that is attempting to legalize marriage for all and equalize society comes the resistance from the current generation that maintains its more traditional values. We are on the brink of a new progressive age, but are held back by the values of our past and unable to currently alter our future. Years ago, states around America began to ban Gay Marriage. Many of the citizens, politicians and lawmakers behind these bans were raised a more with traditional belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Currently, the growing generation is attempting to make a change and legalize gay marriage because If two people want to get married, it's their prerogative -- we hope. Everybody should be able to do what they want to do and be in the pursuit of happiness, says Mariah Carey, a young and influential performer. The sentiment of change among young people is definitely progressive, and if the desire for change and reform classified an era as progressive, we may be in one. However, both old and young generations are unwilling to compromise and therefore very little change is happening. Although some states are beginning to pass new laws allowing same-sex marriage, the older majority of our country still does not have Roosevelts progressive spirit that regulated and protected the

various interests in American Society (Faragher, 752). America is full of young muckrakers who are finding problems and attempting to fix them, but unlike a century ago, the entire population is not getting behind their movements. Perhaps one of the most controversial reformers of our current generation is Michelle Rhee, former head of the DC school system and now leading a private education reform group. Rhee inherited one of the many failing big-city school districts around the country. Within her first few months as chancellor of the district, Rhee closed down failing schools, redefined teacher evaluations, added more art classes in elementary schools and attempted to raise test scores. Rhees words were revolutionary; she took a stand on fair education and declared, We will no longer describe failure as the result of vast impersonal forces like poverty or a broken bureaucracy (Rhee, 2007). Her lack of former experience as a leader of a school district eventually brought her down. When Rhee began proposing the removal of the DC teacher union in exchange for higher pay, she was met with criticism from senior educators around the nation about her lack of credentials and her desire to create an essentially utilitarian vision (Faragher, 750) for the nations education, a vision that progressive muckrakers in the Progressive Era sought to make a reality. It is clear that in our current era, any attempt at reform is met with criticism from past generations and a strong fear of change in our country. Even reformers with the best intentions are often met with the most defensive Americans. Therefore, it is clear our era wants to be progressive and should be, but is not able to be in a progressive era.

Works Cited Faragher, John Mack. Out of Many: A History of the American People. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Print. Michelson, Noah. "66 Inspirational Quotes About Gay Marriage." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 Mar. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. Strauss, Valerie. "Michelle Rhee's Greatest Hits." The Answer Sheet. The Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.