Progressive education is generally thought to bear little commonality with authori- tarianism and nativism. However, several studies show far-right governments and movements embracing progressive tenets. This article investigates the reasons behind this phenomenon by confronting the educational ideas of key far-right parties and educators in interwar German- and Italian-speaking Switzerland. Our systematic analysis of texts produced by these actors suggests that they subscribed to progressivism not in spite of their political views, but precisely because it aligned with their authori- tarian and nativist ideology. This finding calls for more scholarship exploring and theorising the relationship between political ideologies and (progressive) educational ideas and movements.