Dutch Economic Textbooks in the 1970s

Raising the Status of a New Secondary School Type by Means of Mathematical Abstraction

in Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society
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  • 1 Gerrit F. Gorter is a lecturer in economics at the NHL University of Applied Sciences, Groningen gf.gorter@home.nl
  • | 2 Hilda T. A. Amsing is an associate professor of the history of education at the University of Groningen h.t.a.amsing@rug.nl
  • | 3 Jeroen J. H. Dekker is a professor of the history and theory of education at the University of Groningen j.j.h.dekker@rug.nl
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Essential Economics, the influential economics education textbook written by Arnold Heertje for use in Dutch secondary schools in the 1970s, was characterized by a previously unknown and internationally exceptional degree of abstraction. Its users justified this degree of abstraction by arguing that it fulfilled the needs of mental schooling (in line with the formal education argument upheld by defenders of humanism) and that it would enhance the rigorous status of the new type of school known as athenaeum A. In the 1970s, this economics education design was criticized by Herman Hartkamp, who strove to ground economics education on pupil-centered and social meliorist principles. By explaining this struggle and its outcome, this article exposes the various educational ideologies found in textbooks in the segmented Dutch school system.