"...inspired as they are by educational progressivism, are supposed to favor child-centered discovery learning. And yet, in many ways, they are less child-centered than ever."
I've seen so many cases where what they say and what they do are completely different. They want child-centered, but that really means group-centered in class. They talk about different learning styles, but don't let the students decide, especially if the student wants to use traditional algorithms rather than something like the lattice method. They talk about discovery, but they can't do this for everything so only a few topics get that in-class, group approach. They assume that it works and don't care if the light bulb goes on for one student who proceeds to directly teach it badly to the others in the group. Apparently, students can't discover anything with individual homework assignments. They talk about differentiated instruction, but that never gets done and it's not acceleration. My son had to draw crayon pictures of science terms in sixth grade even though he memorized them in very short order.
They want students to discover what they want them to discover. They make it clear to the students that the teachers favor some techniques and explanations over others. It was a big problem for me when my son was in K-6. How do you tell them that they are completely wrong? They don't even do what they say they are going to do. I came to the conclusion that their only goal is group work in class with the teacher as the guide on the side. They want to follow a rote process and assume that it works by definition. I don't see any arguments that would get these people to understand anything else.
I thought that maybe if they knew what the parents of the best students did at home with ensuring basic skills, that it would make a difference. They don't want to know because if you take their beliefs away from them, then they have nothing.