The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1860-1937), imprisoned by Mussolini, had an interesting take on progressive education in his day that resonates today:
“The replacement of ‘mechanical’ by ‘natural’ methods has become unhealthily exaggerated…previously pupils at least acquired a certain baggage to put in order. Now there will be no baggage to put in order. The most paradoxical aspect of it all is that this new type of school is advocated as being democratic, while in fact it is destined not merely to perpetuate social differences, but crystallize them.”
So the paradox may be that progressive education, beloved of many liberals, is actually economically and socially regressive, producing of greater inequality and the conservative focus on teaching fundamental knowledge is actually potentially progressive. Ah, I love such paradoxes.