History of education in the United States | Wikipedia audio article


The history of education in the United States,
or Foundations of Education covers the trends in educational philosophy, policy, institutions,
as well as formal and informal learning in America from the 17th century to the early
21st century.==Colonial era=====
New England===The first American schools in the thirteen
original colonies opened in the 17th century. Boston Latin School was founded in 1635 and
is both the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States. The first free taxpayer-supported public school
in North America, the Mather School, was opened in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1639. Cremin (1970) stresses that colonists tried
at first to educate by the traditional English methods of family, church, community, and
apprenticeship, with schools later becoming the key agent in “socialization.” At first, the rudiments of literacy and arithmetic
were taught inside the family, assuming the parents had those skills. Literacy rates were much higher in New England
because much of the population had been deeply involved in the Protestant Reformation and
learned to read in order to read the Scriptures. Literacy was much lower in the South, where
the Anglican Church was the established church. Single working-class people formed a large
part of the population in the early years, arriving as indentured servants. The planter class did not support public education
but arranged for private tutors for their children, and sent some to England at appropriate
ages for further education. By the mid-19th century, the role of the schools
in New England had expanded to such an extent that they took over many of the educational
tasks traditionally handled by parents. All the New England colonies required towns
to set up schools, and many did so. In 1642 the Massachusetts Bay Colony made
“proper” education compulsory; other New England colonies followed this example. Similar statutes were adopted in other colonies
in the 1640s and 1650s. The schools were all male and all white, with
few facilities for girls. In the 18th century, “common schools” were
established; students of all ages were under the control of one teacher in one room. Although they were publicly supplied at the
local (town) level, they were not free. Students’ families were charged tuition or
“rate bills.” The larger towns in New England opened grammar
schools, the forerunner of the modern high school. The most famous was the Boston Latin School,
which is still in operation as a public high school. Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut,
was another. By the 1780s, most had been replaced by private
academies. By the early 19th century New England operated
a network of private high schools, now called “prep schools,” typified by Phillips Andover
Academy (1778), Phillips Exeter Academy (1781), and Deerfield Academy (1797). They became the major feeders for Ivy League
colleges in the mid-19th century. These prep schools became coeducational in
the 1970s, and remain highly prestigious in the 21st century.===The South===
Residents of the Upper South, centered on the Chesapeake Bay, created some basic schools
early in the colonial period. In late 17th century Maryland, the Catholic
Jesuits operated some schools for Catholic students. Generally the planter class hired tutors for
the education of their children or sent them to private schools. During the colonial years, some sent their
sons to England or Scotland for schooling. In March 1620, George Thorpe sailed from Bristol
for Virginia. He became a deputy in charge of 10,000 acres
(4,000 ha) of land to be set aside for a university and Indian school. The plans for the school for Native Americans
ended when George Thorpe was killed in the Indian Massacre of 1622. In Virginia, rudimentary schooling for the
poor and paupers was provided by the local parish. Most elite parents either home schooled their
children using peripatetic tutors or sent them to small local private schools.In the
deep south (Georgia and South Carolina), schooling was carried out primarily by private venture
teachers and a hodgepodge of publicly funded projects. In the colony of Georgia, at least ten grammar
schools were in operation by 1770, many taught by ministers. The Bethesda Orphan House educated children. Dozens of private tutors and teachers advertised
their service in newspapers. A study of women’s signatures indicates a
high degree of literacy in areas with schools. In South Carolina, scores of school projects
were advertised in the South Carolina Gazette beginning in 1732. Although it is difficult to know how many
ads yielded successful schools, many of the ventures advertised repeatedly over years,
suggesting continuity.After the American Revolution, Georgia and South Carolina tried to start
small public universities. Wealthy families sent their sons North to
college. In Georgia public county academies for white
students became more common, and after 1811 South Carolina opened a few free “common schools”
to teach reading, writing and arithmetic to whites. Republican governments during the Reconstruction
era established the first public school systems to be supported by general taxes. Both whites and blacks would be admitted,
but legislators agreed on racially segregated schools. (The few integrated schools were located in
New Orleans). Particularly after white Democrats regained
control of the state legislatures in former Confederate states, they consistently underfunded
public schools for blacks which continued until 1954 when the United States Supreme
Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students
to be unconstitutional. Generally public schooling in rural areas
did not extend beyond the elementary grades for either whites or blacks. This was known as “eighth grade school” After
1900, some cities began to establish high schools, primarily for middle class whites. In the 1930s roughly one fourth of the US
population still lived and worked on farms and few rural Southerners of either race went
beyond the 8th grade until after 1945.===Women and girls===
The earliest continually operating school for girls in the United States is the Catholic
Ursuline Academy in New Orleans. It was founded in 1727 by the Sisters of the
Order of Saint Ursula. The Academy graduated the first female pharmacist,
and the first woman to write a book of literary merit. The first convent established in the United
States supported the Academy. This was the first free school and first retreat
center for young women. It was the first school to teach free women
of color, Native Americans, and female African-American slaves. In the region, Ursuline provided the first
center of social welfare in the Mississippi Valley; and it was the first boarding school
for girls in Louisiana, and the first school of music in New Orleans.Tax-supported schooling
for girls began as early as 1767 in New England. It was optional and some towns proved reluctant
to support this innovation. Northampton, Massachusetts, for example, was
a late adopter because it had many rich families who dominated the political and social structures. They did not want to pay taxes to aid poor
families. Northampton assessed taxes on all households,
rather than only on those with children, and used the funds to support a grammar school
to prepare boys for college. Not until after 1800 did Northampton educate
girls with public money. In contrast, the town of Sutton, Massachusetts,
was diverse in terms of social leadership and religion at an early point in its history. Sutton paid for its schools by means of taxes
on households with children only, thereby creating an active constituency in favor of
universal education for both boys and girls. Historians note that reading and writing were
different skills in the colonial era. Schools taught both, but in places without
schools, writing was taught mainly to boys and a few privileged girls. Men handled worldly affairs and needed to
both read and write. It was believed that girls needed only to
read (especially religious materials). This educational disparity between reading
and writing explains why the colonial women often could read, but could not write and
could not sign their names—they used an “X”.The education of elite women in Philadelphia
after 1740 followed the British model developed by the gentry classes during the early 18th
century. Rather than emphasizing ornamental aspects
of women’s roles, this new model encouraged women to engage in more substantive education,
reaching into the classical arts and sciences to improve their reasoning skills. Education had the capacity to help colonial
women secure their elite status by giving them traits that their ‘inferiors’ could not
easily mimic. Fatherly (2004) examines British and American
writings that influenced Philadelphia during the 1740s–1770s and the ways in which Philadelphia
women gained education and demonstrated their status.===Non-English schools===
By 1664, when the territory was taken over by the English, most towns in the New Netherland
colony had already set up elementary schools. The schools were closely related to the Dutch
Reformed Church, and emphasized reading for religious instruction and prayer. The English closed the Dutch-language public
schools; in some cases these were converted into private academies. The new English government showed little interest
in public schools.German settlements from New York through Pennsylvania, Maryland and
down to the Carolinas sponsored elementary schools closely tied to their churches, with
each denomination or sect sponsoring its own schools. In the early colonial years, German immigrants
were Protestant and the drive for education was related to teaching students to read Scripture.Following
waves of German Catholic immigration after the 1848 revolutions, and after the end of
the Civil War, both Catholics and Missouri Synod Lutherans began to set up their own
German-language parochial schools, especially in cities of heavy German immigration: such
as Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee, as well as rural areas heavily settled by
Germans. The Amish, a small religious sect speaking
German, are opposed to schooling past the elementary level. They see it as unnecessary, as dangerous to
preservation of their faith, and as beyond the purview of government.Spain had small
settlements in Florida, the Southwest, and also controlled Louisiana. There is little evidence that they schooled
any girls. Parish schools were administered by Jesuits
or Franciscans and were limited to male students.===Textbooks===
In the 17th century, colonists imported schoolbooks from England. By 1690, Boston publishers were reprinting
the English Protestant Tutor under the title of The New England Primer. The Primer was built on rote memorization. By simplifying Calvinist theology, the Primer
enabled the Puritan child to define the limits of the self by relating his life to the authority
of God and his parents. The Primer included additional material that
made it widely popular in colonial schools until it was supplanted by Webster’s work. The “blue backed speller” of Noah Webster
was by far the most common textbook from the 1790s until 1836, when the McGuffey Readers
appeared. Both series emphasized civic duty and morality,
and sold tens of millions of copies nationwide.Webster’s Speller was the pedagogical blueprint for
American textbooks; it was so arranged that it could be easily taught to students, and
it progressed by age. Webster believed students learned most readily
when complex problems were broken into its component parts. Each pupil could master one part before moving
to the next. Ellis argues that Webster anticipated some
of the insights associated in the 20th century with Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Webster said that children pass through distinctive
learning phases in which they master increasingly complex or abstract tasks. He stressed that teachers should not try to
teach a three-year-old how to read—wait until they are ready at age five. He planned the Speller accordingly, starting
with the alphabet, then covering the different sounds of vowels and consonants, then syllables;
simple words came next, followed by more complex words, then sentences. Webster’s Speller was entirely secular. It ended with two pages of important dates
in American history, beginning with Columbus’ “discovery” in 1492 and ending with the Battle
of Yorktown in 1781, by which the United States achieved independence. There was no mention of God, the Bible, or
sacred events. As Ellis explains, “Webster began to construct
a secular catechism to the nation-state. Here was the first appearance of ‘civics’
in American schoolbooks. In this sense, Webster’s speller was the secular
successor to The New England Primer with its explicitly biblical injunctions.” Bynack (1984) examines Webster in relation
to his commitment to the idea of a unified American national culture that would prevent
the decline of republican virtues and national solidarity. Webster acquired his perspective on language
from such German theorists as Johann David Michaelis and Johann Gottfried Herder. He believed with them that a nation’s linguistic
forms and the thoughts correlated with them shaped individuals’ behavior. He intended the etymological clarification
and reform of American English to improve citizens’ manners and thereby preserve republican
purity and social stability. Webster animated his Speller and Grammar by
following these principles.===Colonial colleges===
Higher education was largely oriented toward training men as ministers before 1800. Doctors and lawyers were trained in local
apprentice systems. Religious denominations established most early
colleges in order to train ministers. New England had a long emphasis on literacy
in order that individuals could read the Bible. Harvard College was founded by the colonial
legislature in 1636, and named after an early benefactor. Most of the funding came from the colony,
but the college began to build an endowment from its early years. Harvard at first focused on training young
men for the ministry, but many alumni went into law, medicine, government or business. The college was a leader in bringing Newtonian
science to the colonies.The College of William & Mary was founded by Virginia government
in 1693, with 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) of land for an endowment, and a penny tax on every
pound of tobacco, together with an annual appropriation. It was closely associated with the established
Anglican Church. James Blair, the leading Anglican minister
in the colony, was president for 50 years. The college won the broad support of the Virginia
planter class, most of whom were Anglicans. It hired the first law professor and trained
many of the lawyers, politicians, and leading planters. Students headed for the ministry were given
free tuition. Yale College was founded by Puritans in 1701,
and in 1716 was relocated to New Haven, Connecticut. The conservative Puritan ministers of Connecticut
had grown dissatisfied with the more liberal theology of Harvard, and wanted their own
school to train orthodox ministers. However president Thomas Clap (1740–1766)
strengthened the curriculum in the natural sciences and made Yale a stronghold of revivalist
New Light theology.New Side Presbyterians in 1747 set up the College of New Jersey,
in the town of Princeton; much later it was renamed as Princeton University. Baptists established Rhode Island College
in 1764, and in 1804 it was renamed Brown University in honor of a benefactor. Brown was especially liberal in welcoming
young men from other denominations. In New York City, the Anglicans set up Kings
College in 1746, with its president Samuel Johnson the only teacher. It closed during the American Revolution,
and reopened in 1784 as an independent institution under the name of Columbia College; it is
now Columbia University. The Academy of Philadelphia was created in
1749 by Benjamin Franklin and other civic minded leaders in Philadelphia. Unlike colleges in other cities, it was not
oriented toward the training of ministers. It founded the first medical school in America
in 1765, therefore becoming America’s first university. The Pennsylvania state legislature conferred
a new corporate charter upon the College of Philadelphia and renamed it the University
of Pennsylvania in 1791.The Dutch Reform Church in 1766 set up Queens College in New Jersey,
which later became known as Rutgers University and gained state support. Dartmouth College, chartered in 1769 as a
school for Native Americans, relocated to its present site in Hanover, New Hampshire,
in 1770.All of the schools were small, with a limited undergraduate curriculum oriented
on the classical liberal arts. Students were drilled in Greek, Latin, geometry,
ancient history, logic, ethics and rhetoric, with few discussions, little homework and
no lab sessions. The college president typically tried to enforce
strict discipline. The upperclassmen enjoyed hazing the freshmen. Many students were younger than 17, and most
of the colleges also operated a preparatory school. There were no organized sports, or Greek-letter
fraternities, but many of the schools had active literary societies. Tuition was very low and scholarships were
few.The colonies had no schools of law. A few young American students studied at the
prestigious Inns of Court in London. The majority of aspiring lawyers served apprenticeships
with established American lawyers, or “read the law” to qualify for bar exams. Law became very well established in the colonies,
compared to medicine, which was in rudimentary condition. In the 18th century, 117 Americans had graduated
in medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, but most physicians learned as apprentices in the colonies.The
trustees of the Academy of Philadelphia, later the University of Pennsylvania, established
the first medical school in the colonies in 1765, becoming the first university in the
colonies. In New York, the medical department of King’s
College was established in 1767, and in 1770 it awarded the first American M.D. degree.==Federal era==After the Revolution, northern states especially
emphasized education and rapidly established public schools. By the year 1870, all states had tax-subsidized
elementary schools. The US population had one of the highest literacy
rates in the world at the time. Private academies also flourished in the towns
across the country, but rural areas (where most people lived) had few schools before
the 1880s. In 1821, Boston started the first public high
school in the United States. By the close of the 19th century, public secondary
schools began to outnumber private ones.Over the years, Americans have been influenced
by a number of European reformers; among them Pestalozzi, Herbart, and Montessori.===Republican motherhood===
By the early 19th century with the rise of the new United States, a new mood was alive
in urban areas. Especially influential were the writings of
Lydia Maria Child, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, and Lydia Sigourney, who developed the role
of republican motherhood as a principle that united state and family by equating a successful
republic with virtuous families. Women, as intimate and concerned observers
of young children, were best suited to the role of guiding and teaching children. By the 1840s, New England writers such as
Child, Sedgwick, and Sigourney became respected models and advocates for improving and expanding
education for females. Greater educational access meant formerly
male-only subjects, such as mathematics and philosophy, were to be integral to curricula
at public and private schools for girls. By the late 19th century, these institutions
were extending and reinforcing the tradition of women as educators and supervisors of American
moral and ethical values.The ideal of Republican motherhood pervaded the entire nation, greatly
enhancing the status of women and supporting girls’ need for education. The relative emphasis on decorative arts and
refinement of female instruction which had characterized the colonial era was replaced
after 1776 by a program to support women in education for their major role in nation building,
in order that they become good republican mothers of good republican youth. Fostered by community spirit and financial
donations, private female academies were established in towns across the South as well as the North.Rich
planters were particularly insistent on having their daughters schooled, since education
often served as a substitute for dowry in marriage arrangements. The academies usually provided a rigorous
and broad curriculum that stressed writing, penmanship, arithmetic, and languages, especially
French. By 1840, the female academies succeeded in
producing a cultivated, well-read female elite ready for their roles as wives and mothers
in southern aristocratic society.===Attendance===
The 1840 census indicated that of the 3.68 million children between the ages of five
and fifteen, about 55% attended primary schools and academies. Many families could not afford to pay for
their children to go to school or spare them from farm work. Beginning in the late 1830s, more private
academies were established for girls for education past primary school, especially in northern
states. Some offered classical education similar to
that offered to boys. Data from the indentured servant contracts
of German immigrant children in Pennsylvania from 1771–1817 show that the number of children
receiving education increased from 33.3% in 1771–1773 to 69% in 1787–1804. Additionally, the same data showed that the
ratio of school education versus home education rose from .25 in 1771–1773 to 1.68 in 1787–1804. While some African Americans managed to achieve
literacy, southern states largely prohibited schooling to blacks.====Teachers, early 1800s====
Teaching young students was not an attractive career for educated people. Adults became teachers without any particular
skill. Hiring was handled by the local school board,
who were mainly interested in the efficient use of limited taxes and favored young single
women from local taxpaying families. This started to change with the introduction
of two-year normal schools starting in 1823. Normal schools increasingly provided career
paths for unmarried middle class women. By 1900 most teachers of elementary schools
in the northern states had been trained at normal schools.====One-room schoolhouses====
Given the high proportion of population in rural areas, with limited numbers of students,
most communities relied on one-room school houses. Teachers would deal with the range of students
of various ages and abilities by using the Monitorial System, an education method that
became popular on a global scale during the early 19th century. This method was also known as “mutual instruction”
or the “Bell-Lancaster method” after the British educators Dr Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster,
who each independently developed it about 1798. As older children in families would teach
younger ones, the abler pupils in these schools became ‘helpers’ to the teacher, and taught
other students what they had learned.====Mann reforms====
Upon becoming the secretary of education of Massachusetts in 1837, Horace Mann (1796–1859)
worked to create a statewide system of professional teachers, based on the Prussian model of “common
schools.” Prussia was attempting to develop a system
of education by which all students were entitled to the same content in their public classes. Mann initially focused on elementary education
and on training teachers. The common-school movement quickly gained
strength across the North. Connecticut adopted a similar system in 1849,
and Massachusetts passed a compulsory attendance law in 1852. Mann’s crusading style attracted wide middle-class
support. Historian Ellwood P. Cubberley asserts: No one did more than he to establish in the
minds of the American people the conception that education should be universal, non-sectarian,
free, and that its aims should be social efficiency, civic virtue, and character, rather than mere
learning or the advancement of sectarian ends. An important technique which Mann had learned
in Prussia and introduced in Massachusetts in 1848 was to place students in grades by
age. They were assigned by age to different grades
and progressed through them, regardless of differences of aptitude. In addition, he used the lecture method common
in European universities, which required students to receive instruction rather than take an
active role in instructing one another. Previously, schools had often had groups of
students who ranged in age from 6 to 14 years. With the introduction of age grading, multi-aged
classrooms all but disappeared. Some students progressed with their grade
and completed all courses the secondary school had to offer. These were “graduated,” and were awarded a
certificate of completion. This was increasingly done at a ceremony imitating
college graduation rituals. Arguing that universal public education was
the best way to turn the nation’s unruly children into disciplined, judicious republican citizens,
Mann won widespread approval for building public schools from modernizers, especially
among fellow Whigs. Most states adopted one version or another
of the system he established in Massachusetts, especially the program for “normal schools”
to train professional teachers. This quickly developed into a widespread form
of school which later became known as the factory model school. Free schooling was available through some
of the elementary grades. Graduates of these schools could read and
write, though not always with great precision. Mary Chesnut, a Southern diarist, mocks the
North’s system of free education in her journal entry of June 3, 1862, where she derides misspelled
words from the captured letters of Union soldiers.====Compulsory laws====By 1900, 34 states had compulsory schooling
laws; four were in the South. 30 states with compulsory schooling laws required
attendance until age 14 (or higher). As a result, by 1910, 72 percent of American
children attended school. Half the nation’s children attended one-room
schools. By 1918, every state required students to
complete elementary school.====Religion and schools====
As the nation was majority Protestant in the 19th century, most states passed a constitutional
amendment, called Blaine Amendments, forbidding tax money be used to fund parochial schools. This was largely directed against Catholics,
as the heavy immigration from Catholic Ireland after the 1840s aroused nativist sentiment. There were longstanding tensions between Catholic
and Protestant believers, long associated with nation states that had established religions. Many Protestants believed that Catholic children
should be educated in public schools in order to become American. By 1890 the Irish, who as the first major
Catholic immigrant group controlled the Church hierarchy in the U.S., had built an extensive
network of parishes and parish schools (“parochial schools”) across the urban Northeast and Midwest. The Irish and other Catholic ethnic groups
intended parochial schools not only to protect their religion, but to enhance their culture
and language.Catholics and German Lutherans, as well as Dutch Protestants, organized and
funded their own elementary schools. Catholic communities also raised money to
build colleges and seminaries to train teachers and religious leaders to head their churches. In the 19th century, most Catholics were Irish
or German immigrants and their children; in the 1890s new waves of Catholic immigrants
began arriving from Italy and Poland. The parochial schools met some opposition,
as in the Bennett Law in Wisconsin in 1890, but they thrived and grew. Catholic nuns served as teachers in most schools
and were paid low salaries in keeping with their vows of poverty. In 1925 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Pierce
v. Society of Sisters that students could attend private schools to comply with state
compulsory education laws, thus giving parochial schools an official blessing.====Schools for Black students====In the early days of the Reconstruction era,
the Freedmen’s Bureau opened 1000 schools across the South for black children. This was essentially building on schools that
had been established in numerous large contraband camps. Freedmen were eager for schooling for both
adults and children, and the enrollments were high and enthusiastic. Overall, the Bureau spent $5 million to set
up schools for blacks. By the end of 1865, more than 90,000 freedmen
were enrolled as students in these schools. The school curriculum resembled that of schools
in the North.Many Bureau teachers were well-educated Yankee women motivated by religion and abolitionism. Half the teachers were southern whites; one-third
were blacks, and one-sixth were northern whites. Most were women but among African Americans,
male teachers slightly outnumbered female teachers. In the South, people were attracted to teaching
because of the good salaries, at a time when the societies were disrupted and the economy
was poor. Northern teachers were typically funded by
northern organizations and were motivated by humanitarian goals to help the freedmen. As a group, only the black cohort showed a
commitment to racial equality; they were also the ones most likely to continue as teachers.When
the Republicans came to power in the Southern states after 1867, they created the first
system of taxpayer-funded public schools. Southern Blacks wanted public schools for
their children but they did not demand racially integrated schools. Almost all the new public schools were segregated,
apart from a few in New Orleans. After the Republicans lost power in the mid-1870s,
conservative whites retained the public school systems but sharply cut their funding. Almost all private academies and colleges
in the South were strictly segregated by race. The American Missionary Association supported
the development and establishment of several historically black colleges, such as Fisk
University and Shaw University. In this period, a handful of northern colleges
accepted black students. Northern denominations and their missionary
associations especially established private schools across the South to provide secondary
education. They provided a small amount of collegiate
work. Tuition was minimal, so churches supported
the colleges financially, and also subsidized the pay of some teachers. In 1900, churches—mostly based in the North—operated
247 schools for blacks across the South, with a budget of about $1 million. They employed 1600 teachers and taught 46,000
students. Prominent schools included Howard University,
a federal institution based in Washington; Fisk University in Nashville, Atlanta University,
Hampton Institute in Virginia, and many others. Most new colleges in the 19th century were
founded in northern states. In 1890, Congress expanded the land-grant
program to include federal support for state-sponsored colleges across the South. It required states to identify colleges for
black students as well as white ones in order to get land grant support. Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute
was of national importance because it set the standards for what was called industrial
education. Of even greater influence was Tuskegee Normal
School for Colored Teachers, led from 1881 by Hampton alumnus Booker T. Washington. In 1900 few black students were enrolled in
college-level work; their schools had very weak faculties and facilities. The alumni of Keithley became high school
teachers.While the colleges and academies were generally coeducational, until the late
20th century, historians had taken little notice of the role of women as students and
teachers.====Influence of colleges in 19th century
====Summarizing the research of Burke and Hall,
Katz concludes that in the 19th century: The nation’s many small colleges helped young
men make the transition from rural farms to complex urban occupations. These colleges especially promoted upward
mobility by preparing ministers, and thereby provided towns across the country with a core
of community leaders. The more elite colleges became increasingly
exclusive and contributed relatively little to upward social mobility. By concentrating on the offspring of wealthy
families, ministers and a few others, the elite Eastern colleges, especially Harvard,
played an important role in the formation of a Northeastern elite with great power.==20th century=====
Progressive Era===The progressive era in education was part
of a larger Progressive Movement, extending from the 1890s to the 1930s. The era was notable for a dramatic expansion
in the number of schools and students served, especially in the fast-growing metropolitan
cities. After 1910, smaller cities also began building
high schools. By 1940, 50% of young adults had earned a
high school diploma.Radical historians in the 1960s, steeped in the anti-bureaucratic
ethos of the New Left, deplored the emergence of bureaucratic school systems. They argue its purpose was to suppress the
upward aspirations of the working class. But other historians have emphasized the necessity
of building non-politicized standardized systems. The reforms in St. Louis, according to historian
Selwyn Troen, were, “born of necessity as educators first confronted the problems of
managing a rapidly expanding and increasingly complex institutions.” Troen found that the bureaucratic solution
removed schools from the bitterness and spite of ward politics. Troen argues: In the space of only a generation, public
education had left behind a highly regimented and politicized system dedicated to training
children in the basic skills of literacy and the special discipline required of urban citizens,
and had replaced it with a largely apolitical, more highly organized and efficient structure
specifically designed to teach students the many specialized skills demanded in a modern,
industrial society. In terms of programs this entailed the introduction
of vocational instruction, a doubling of the period of schooling, and a broader concern
for the welfare of urban youth. The social elite in many cities in the 1890s
led the reform movement. Their goal was to permanently end political
party control of the local schools for the benefit of patronage jobs and construction
contracts, which had arisen out of ward politics that absorbed and taught the millions of new
immigrants. New York City elite led progressive reforms. Reformers installed a bureaucratic system
run by experts, and demanded expertise from prospective teachers. The reforms opened the way for hiring more
Irish Catholic and Jewish teachers, who proved adept at handling the civil service tests
and gaining the necessary academic credentials. Before the reforms, schools had often been
used as a means to provide patronage jobs for party foot soldiers. The new emphasis concentrated on broadening
opportunities for the students. New programs were established for the physically
handicapped; evening recreation centers were set up; vacation schools were opened; medical
inspections became routine; programs began to teach English as a second language; and
school libraries were opened.====Dewey and progressive education====
The leading educational theorist of the era was John Dewey (1859–1952), a philosophy
professor at the University of Chicago (1894–1904) and at Teachers College (1904 to 1930), of
Columbia University in New York City. Dewey was a leading proponent of “Progressive
Education” and wrote many books and articles to promote the central role of democracy in
education. He believed that schools were not only a place
for students to gain content knowledge, but also as a place for them to learn how to live. The purpose of education was thus to realize
the student’s full potential and the ability to use those skills for the greater good. Dewey noted that, “to prepare him for the
future life means to give him command of himself; it means so to train him that he will have
the full and ready use of all his capacities.” Dewey insisted that education and schooling
are instrumental in creating social change and reform. He noted that “education is a regulation of
the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of
individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social
reconstruction.”. Although Dewey’s ideas were very widely discussed,
they were implemented chiefly in small experimental schools attached to colleges of education. In the public schools, Dewey and the other
progressive theorists encountered a highly bureaucratic system of school administration
that was typically not receptive to new methods.Dewey viewed public schools and their narrow-mindedness
with disdain and as undemocratic and close minded. Meanwhile, laboratory schools, such as the
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, were much more open to original thought and
experimentation. Not only was Dewey involved with laboratory
schools, but he was also deeply involved with the emerging philosophy of pragmatism, which
he incorporated within his laboratory schools. Dewey viewed pragmatism critical for the growth
of democracy, which Dewey did not view as just a form of government, but something that
occurred within the workings of the laboratory schools as well as everyday life. Dewey utilized the laboratory schools as an
experimental platform for his theories on pragmatism, democracy, as well as how humans
learned.====Black education====
Booker T. Washington was the dominant black political and educational leader in the United
States from the 1890s until his death in 1915. Washington not only led his own college, Tuskegee
Institute in Alabama, but his advice, political support, and financial connections proved
important to many other black colleges and high schools, which were primarily located
in the South. This was the center of the black population
until after the Great Migration of the first half of the 20th century. Washington was a respected advisor to major
philanthropies, such as the Rockefeller, Rosenwald and Jeanes foundations, which provided funding
for leading black schools and colleges. The Rosenwald Foundation provided matching
funds for the construction of schools for rural black students in the South. Washington explained, “We need not only the
industrial school, but the college and professional school as well, for a people so largely segregated,
as we are. … Our teachers, ministers, lawyers and doctors
will prosper just in proportion as they have about them an intelligent and skillful producing
class.” Washington was a strong advocate of progressive
reforms as advocated by Dewey, emphasizing scientific, industrial and agricultural education
that produced a base for lifelong learning, and enabled careers for many black teachers,
professionals, and upwardly mobile workers. He tried to adapt to the system and did not
support political protests against the segregated Jim Crow system. At the same time, Washington used his network
to provide important funding to support numerous legal challenges by the NAACP against the
systems of disenfranchisement which southern legislatures had passed at the turn of the
century, effectively excluding blacks from politics for decades into the 1960s.====Atlanta====
In most American cities, Progressives in the Efficiency Movement looked for ways to eliminate
waste and corruption. They emphasized using experts in schools. For example, in the 1897 reform of the Atlanta
schools, the school board was reduced in size, eliminating the power of ward bosses. The members of the school board were elected
at-large, reducing the influence of various interest groups. The power of the superintendent was increased. Centralized purchasing allowed for economies
of scale, although it also added opportunities for censorship and suppression of dissent. Standards of hiring and tenure in teachers
were made uniform. Architects designed school buildings in which
the classrooms, offices, workshops and other facilities related together. Curricular innovations were introduced. The reforms were designed to produce a school
system for white students according to the best practices of the day. Middle-class professionals instituted these
reforms; they were equally antagonistic to the traditional business elites and to working-class
elements.====Gary plan====
The “Gary plan” was implemented in the new industrial “steel” city of Gary, Indiana,
by William Wirt, the superintendent who served from 1907–30. Although the U.S. Steel Corporation dominated
the Gary economy and paid abundant taxes, it did not shape Wirt’s educational reforms. The Gary Plan emphasized highly efficient
use of buildings and other facilities. This model was adopted by more than 200 cities
around the country, including New York City. Wirt divided students into two platoons—one
platoon used the academic classrooms, while the second platoon was divided among the shops,
nature studies, auditorium, gymnasium, and outdoor facilities. Then the platoons rotated position. Wirt set up an elaborate night school program,
especially to Americanize new immigrants. The introduction of vocational educational
programs, such as wood shop, machine shop, typing, and secretarial skills proved especially
popular with parents who wanted their children to become foremen and office workers. By the Great Depression, most cities found
the Gary plan too expensive, and abandoned it.===Great Depression and New Deal: 1929-39
===Public schools across the country were badly
hurt by the Great Depression, as tax revenues fell in local and state governments shifted
funding to relief projects. Budgets were slashed, and teachers went unpaid. During the New Deal, 1933–39, President
Franklin Roosevelt and his advisers were hostile to the elitism shown by the educational establishment. They refused all pleas for direct federal
help to public or private schools or universities. They rejected proposals for federal funding
for research at universities. But they did help poor students, and the major
New Deal relief programs built many schools buildings As requested by local governments. The New Deal approach to education was a radical
departure from educational best practices. It was specifically designed for the poor
and staffed largely by women on relief. It was not based on professionalism, nor was
it designed by experts. Instead it was premised on the anti-elitist
notion that a good teacher does not need paper credentials, that learning does not need a
formal classroom and that the highest priority should go to the bottom tier of society. Leaders in the public schools were shocked:
They were shut out as consultants and as recipients of New Deal funding. They desperately needed cash to cover the
local and state revenues that it disappeared during the depression, they were well organized,
and made repeated concerted efforts in 1934, 1937, and 1939, all to no avail. The conservative Republican establishment
headed collaborated with for so long was out of power and Roosevelt himself was the leader
in anti-elitism. The federal government had a highly professional
Office of Education; Roosevelt cut its budget and staff, and refused to consult with its
leader John Ward Studebaker. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) programs
were deliberately designed to not teach skills that would put them in competition with unemployed
union members. The CCC did have its own classes. They were voluntary, took place after work,
and focused on teaching basic literacy to young men who had quit school before high
school.The relief programs did offer indirect help. The CWA and FERA focused on hiring unemployed
people on relief, and putting them to work on public buildings, including public schools. It built or upgraded 40,000 schools, plus
thousands of playgrounds and athletic fields. It gave jobs to 50,000 teachers to keep rural
schools open and to teach adult education classes in the cities. It gave a temporary jobs to unemployed teachers
in cities like Boston. Although the New Deal refused to give money
to impoverished school districts, it did give money to impoverished high school and college
students. The CWA used “work study” programs to fund
students, both male and female.The National Youth Administration (NYA), a semi-autonomous
branch of the WPA under Aubrey Williams developed apprenticeship programs and residential camps
specializing in teaching vocational skills. It was one of the first agencies to set up
a “Division of Negro Affairs” and make an explicit effort to enroll black students. Williams believed that the traditional high
school curricula had failed to meet the needs of the poorest youth. In opposition, the well-established National
Education Association (NEA) saw NYA as a dangerous challenge to local control of education NYA
expanded Work-study money to reach up to 500,000 students per month in high schools, colleges,
and graduate schools. The average pay was $15 a month. However, in line with the anti-elitist policy,
the NYA set up its own high schools, entirely separate from the public school system or
academic schools of education. Despite appeals from Ickes and Eleanor Roosevelt,
Howard University–the federally operated school for blacks—saw its budget cut below
Hoover administration levels.===Secondary schools===
In 1880, American high schools were primarily considered to be preparatory academies for
students who were going to attend college. But by 1910 they had been transformed into
core elements of the common school system and had broader goals of preparing many students
for work after high school. The explosive growth brought the number of
students from 200,000 in 1890 to 1,000,000 in 1910, to almost 2,000,000 by 1920; 7% of
youths aged 14 to 17 were enrolled in 1890, rising to 32% in 1920. The graduates found jobs especially in the
rapidly growing white-collar sector. Cities large and small across the country
raced to build new high schools. Few were built in rural areas, so ambitious
parents moved close to town to enable their teenagers to attend high school. After 1910, vocational education was added,
as a mechanism to train the technicians and skilled workers needed by the booming industrial
sector.In the 1880s the high schools started developing as community centers. They added sports and by the 1920s were building
gymnasiums that attracted large local crowds to basketball and other games, especially
in small town schools that served nearby rural areas.====College preparation====
In the 1865–1914 era, the number and character of schools changed to meet the demands of
new and larger cities and of new immigrants. They had to adjust to the new spirit of reform
permeating the country. High schools increased in number, adjusted
their curriculum to prepare students for the growing state and private universities; education
at all levels began to offer more utilitarian studies in place of an emphasis on the classics. John Dewey and other Progressives advocated
changes from their base in teachers’ colleges.Before 1920 most secondary education, whether private
or public, emphasized college entry for a select few headed for college. Proficiency in Greek and Latin was emphasized. Abraham Flexner, under commission from the
philanthropic General Education Board (GEB), wrote A Modern School (1916), calling for
a de-emphasis on the classics. The classics teachers fought back in a losing
effort.Prior to World War I, German was preferred as a subject for a second spoken language. Prussian and German educational systems had
served as a model for many communities in the United States and its intellectual standing
was highly respected. Due to Germany being an enemy of the US during
the war, an anti-German attitude arose in the United States. French, the international language of diplomacy,
was promoted as the preferred second language instead. French survived as the second language of
choice until the 1960s, when Spanish became popular. This reflected a strong increase in the Spanish-speaking
population in the United States, which has continued since the late 20th century.====The growth of human capital====
By 1900 educators argued that the post-literacy schooling of the masses at the secondary and
higher levels, would improve citizenship, develop higher-order traits, and produce the
managerial and professional leadership needed for rapid economic modernization. The commitment to expanded education past
age 14 set the U.S. apart from Europe for much of the 20th century.From 1910 to 1940,
high schools grew in number and size, reaching out to a broader clientele. In 1910, for example, 9% of Americans had
a high school diploma; in 1935, the rate was 40%. By 1940, the number had increased to 50%. This phenomenon was uniquely American; no
other nation attempted such widespread coverage. The fastest growth came in states with greater
wealth, more homogeneity of wealth, and less manufacturing activity than others. The high schools provided necessary skill
sets for youth planning to teach school, and essential skills for those planning careers
in white collar work and some high-paying blue collar jobs. Claudia Goldin argues this rapid growth was
facilitated by public funding, openness, gender neutrality, local (and also state) control,
separation of church and state, and an academic curriculum. The wealthiest European nations, such as Germany
and Britain, had far more exclusivity in their education system; few youth attended past
age 14. Apart from technical training schools, European
secondary schooling was dominated by children of the wealthy and the social elites.American
post-elementary schooling was designed to be consistent with national needs. It stressed general and widely applicable
skills not tied to particular occupations or geographic areas, in order that students
would have flexible employment options. As the economy was dynamic, the emphasis was
on portable skills that could be used in a variety of occupations, industries, and regions.Public
schools were funded and supervised by independent districts that depended on taxpayer support. In dramatic contrast to the centralized systems
in Europe, where national agencies made the major decisions, the American districts designed
their own rules and curricula.====Teachers and administrators====
Early public school superintendents emphasized discipline and rote learning, and school principals
made sure the mandate was imposed on teachers. Disruptive students were expelled.Support
for the high school movement occurred at the grass-roots level of local cities and school
systems. After 1916, the federal government began to
provide for vocational education funding as part of support for raising readiness to work
in industrial and artisan jobs. In these years, states and religious bodies
generally funded teacher training colleges, often called “normal schools”. Gradually they developed full four-year curriculums
and developed as state colleges after 1945. Teachers organized themselves during the 1920s
and 1930s. In 1917, the National Education Association
(NEA) was reorganized to better mobilize and represent teachers and educational staff. The rate of increase in membership was constant
under the chairmanship of James Crabtree—from 8,466 members in 1917 to 220,149 in 1931. The rival American Federation of Teachers
(AFT) was based in large cities and formed alliances with the local labor unions. The NEA identified as an upper-middle-class
professional organization, while the AFT identified with the working class and the union movement.===Higher education===At the beginning of the 20th century, fewer
than 1,000 colleges with 160,000 students existed in the United States. Explosive growth in the number of colleges
occurred at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, supported in part by Congress’
land grant programs. Philanthropists endowed many of these institutions. For example, wealthy philanthropists established
Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, Vanderbilt University
and Duke University; John D. Rockefeller funded the University of Chicago without imposing
his name on it.====Land Grant universities====
Each state used federal funding from the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Acts of 1862 and 1890
to set up “land grant colleges” that specialized in agriculture and engineering. The 1890 act required states that had segregation
also to provide all-black land grant colleges, which were dedicated primarily to teacher
training. These colleges contributed to rural development,
including the establishment of a traveling school program by Tuskegee Institute in 1906. Rural conferences sponsored by Tuskegee also
attempted to improve the life of rural blacks. In the late 20th century, many of the schools
established in 1890 have helped train students from less-developed countries to return home
with the skills and knowledge to improve agricultural production.Iowa State University was the first
existing school whose state legislature officially accepted the provisions of the Morrill Act
on September 11, 1862. Other universities soon followed, such as
Purdue University, Michigan State University, Kansas State University, Cornell University
(in New York), Texas A&M University, Pennsylvania State University, The Ohio State University,
and the University of California. Few alumni became farmers, but they did play
an increasingly important role in the larger food industry, especially after the federal
extension system was set up in 1916 that put trained agronomists in every agricultural
county. Engineering graduates played a major role
in rapid technological development. The land-grant college system produced the
agricultural scientists and industrial engineers who constituted the critical human resources
of the managerial revolution in government and business, 1862–1917, laying the foundation
of the world’s pre-eminent educational infrastructure that supported the world’s foremost technology-based
economy.Representative was Pennsylvania State University. The Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania (later
the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania and then Pennsylvania State University), chartered
in 1855, was intended to uphold declining agrarian values and show farmers ways to prosper
through more productive farming. Students were to build character and meet
a part of their expenses by performing agricultural labor. By 1875 the compulsory labor requirement was
dropped, but male students were required to have an hour a day of military training in
order to meet the requirements of the Morrill Land Grant College Act. In the early years, the agricultural curriculum
was not well developed, and politicians in the state capital of Harrisburg often considered
the land-grant college a costly and useless experiment. The college was a center of middle-class values
that served to help young people on their journey to white-collar occupations.====GI Bill====
Rejecting liberal calls for large-scale aid to education, Congress in 1944 during World
War II passed the conservative program of aid limited to veterans who had served in
wartime. Daniel Brumberg and Farideh Farhi state, “The
expansive and generous postwar education benefits of the GI Bill were due not to Roosevelt’s
progressive vision but to the conservative American Legion.” The GI Bill made college education possible
for millions by paying tuition and living expenses. The government provided between $800 and $1,400
each year to these veterans as a subsidy to attend college, which covered 50–80% of
total costs. This included foregone earnings in addition
to tuition, which allowed them to have enough funds for life outside of school. The GI Bill helped create a widespread belief
in the necessity of college education. It opened up higher education to ambitious
young men who would otherwise have been forced to immediately enter the job market after
being discharged from the military. When comparing college attendance rates between
veterans and non-veterans during this period, veterans were found to be 10% more likely
to go to college than non-veterans. In the early decades after the bill was passed,
most campuses became largely male thanks to the GI Bill, since only 2% of wartime veterans
were women. But by 2000, female veterans had grown in
numbers and began passing men in rates of college and graduate school attendance.====Great Society====
When liberals regained control of Congress in 1964, they passed numerous Great Society
programs supported by President Lyndon B. Johnson to expand federal support for education. The Higher Education Act of 1965 set up federal
scholarships and low-interest loans for college students, and subsidized better academic libraries,
ten to twenty new graduate centers, several new technical institutes, classrooms for several
hundred thousand students, and twenty-five to thirty new community colleges a year. A separate education bill enacted that same
year provided similar assistance to dental and medical schools. On an even larger scale, the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act of 1965 began pumping federal money into local school districts.===Segregation and integration===For much of its history, education in the
United States was segregated (or even only available) based upon race. Early integrated schools such as the Noyes
Academy, founded in 1835, in Canaan, New Hampshire, were generally met with fierce local opposition. For the most part, African Americans received
very little to no formal education before the Civil War. Some free blacks in the North managed to become
literate. In the South where slavery was legal, many
states had laws prohibiting teaching enslaved African Americans to read or write. A few taught themselves, others learned from
white playmates or more generous masters, but most were not able to learn to read and
write. Schools for free people of color were privately
run and supported, as were most of the limited schools for white children. Poor white children did not attend school. The wealthier planters hired tutors for their
children and sent them to private academies and colleges at the appropriate age. During Reconstruction a coalition of freedmen
and white Republicans in Southern state legislatures passed laws establishing public education. The Freedmen’s Bureau was created as an agency
of the military governments that managed Reconstruction. It set up schools in many areas and tried
to help educate and protect freedmen during the transition after the war. With the notable exception of the desegregated
public schools in New Orleans, the schools were segregated by race. By 1900 more than 30,000 black teachers had
been trained and put to work in the South, and the literacy rate had climbed to more
than 50%, a major achievement in little more than a generation.Many colleges were set up
for blacks; some were state schools like Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute in Alabama,
others were private ones subsidized by Northern missionary societies. Although the African-American community quickly
began litigation to challenge such provisions, in the 19th century Supreme Court challenges
generally were not decided in their favor. The Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson
(1896) upheld the segregation of races in schools as long as each race enjoyed parity
in quality of education (the “separate but equal” principle). However, few black students received equal
education. They suffered for decades from inadequate
funding, outmoded or dilapidated facilities, and deficient textbooks (often ones previously
used in white schools). Starting in 1914 and going into the 1930s,
Julius Rosenwald, a philanthropist from Chicago, established the Rosenwald Fund to provide
seed money for matching local contributions and stimulating the construction of new schools
for African American children, mostly in the rural South. He worked in association with Booker T. Washington
and architects at Tuskegee University to have model plans created for schools and teacher
housing. With the requirement that money had to be
raised by both blacks and whites, and schools approved by local school boards (controlled
by whites), Rosenwald stimulated construction of more than 5,000 schools built across the
South. In addition to Northern philanthrops and state
taxes, African Americans went to extraordinary efforts to raise money for such schools.The
Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s helped publicize the inequities of segregation. In 1954, the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board
of Education unanimously declared that separate facilities were inherently unequal and unconstitutional. By the 1970s segregated districts had practically
vanished in the South. Integration of schools has been a protracted
process, however, with results affected by vast population migrations in many areas,
and affected by suburban sprawl, the disappearance of industrial jobs, and movement of jobs out
of former industrial cities of the North and Midwest and into new areas of the South. Although required by court order, integrating
the first black students in the South met with intense opposition. In 1957 the integration of Central High School
in Little Rock, Arkansas, had to be enforced by federal troops. President Dwight D. Eisenhower took control
of the National Guard, after the governor tried to use them to prevent integration. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, integration
continued with varying degrees of difficulty. Some states and cities tried to overcome de
facto segregation, a result of housing patterns, by using forced busing. This method of integrating student populations
provoked resistance in many places, including northern cities, where parents wanted children
educated in neighborhood schools. Although full equality and parity in education
has still to be achieved (many school districts are technically still under the integration
mandates of local courts), technical equality in education had been achieved by 1970.The
federal government’s integration efforts began to wane in the mid-1970s, and the Reagan and
Bush Sr. administrations later launched several attacks against desegregation orders. As a result, school integration peaked in
the 1980s and has been gradually declining ever since.===Education after 1945===
In mid-20th century America, there was intense interest in using institutions to support
the innate creativity of children. It helped reshape children’s play, the design
of suburban homes, schools, parks, and museums. Producers of children’s television programming
worked to spark creativity. Educational toys proliferated that were designed
to teach skills or develop abilities. For schools there was a new emphasis on arts
as well as science in the curriculum. School buildings no longer were monumental
testimonies to urban wealth; they were redesigned with the students in mind.The emphasis on
creativity was reversed in the 1980s, as public policy emphasized test scores, school principal
were forced to downplay art, drama, music, history and anything that was not being scored
on standardized tests, lest their school be labelled “failing” by the quantifiers behind
the “No Child Left Behind Act. In the 21st century teachers report that many
students in classrooms seem mesmerized by their personal cell phones or smart phones,
often checking their text messages or Facebook page.====Inequality====
The Coleman Report, by University of Chicago sociology professor James Coleman proved especially
controversial in 1966. Based on massive statistical data, the 1966
report titled “Equality of Educational Opportunity” fueled debate about “school effects” that
has continued since. The report was widely seen as evidence that
school funding has little effect on student final achievement. A more precise reading of the Coleman Report
is that student background and socioeconomic status are much more important in determining
educational outcomes than are measured differences in school resources (i.e. per pupil spending). Coleman found that, on average, black schools
were funded on a nearly equal basis by the 1960s, and that black students benefited from
racially mixed classrooms.The comparative quality of education among rich and poor districts
is still often the subject of dispute. While middle class African-American children
have made good progress; poor minorities have struggled. With school systems based on property taxes,
there are wide disparities in funding between wealthy suburbs or districts, and often poor,
inner-city areas or small towns. “De facto segregation” has been difficult
to overcome as residential neighborhoods have remained more segregated than workplaces or
public facilities. Racial segregation has not been the only factor
in inequities. Residents in New Hampshire challenged property
tax funding because of steep contrasts between education funds in wealthy and poorer areas. They filed lawsuits to seek a system to provide
more equal funding of school systems across the state. Some scholars believe that transformation
of the Pell Grant program to a loan program in the early 1980s has caused an increase
in the gap between the growth rates of white, Asian-American and African-American college
graduates since the 1970s. Others believe the issue is increasingly related
more to class and family capacity than ethnicity. Some school systems have used economics to
create a different way to identify populations in need of supplemental help.====Special education====
In 1975 Congress passed Public Law 94-142, Education for All Handicapped Children Act. One of the most comprehensive laws in the
history of education in the United States, this Act brought together several pieces of
state and federal legislation, making free, appropriate education available to all eligible
students with a disability. The law was amended in 1986 to extend its
coverage to include younger children. In 1990 the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) extended its definitions and changed the label “handicap” to “disabilities”. Further procedural changes were amended to
IDEA in 1997.===Reform efforts in the 1980s===
In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released a report titled A Nation
at Risk. Soon afterward, conservatives were calling
for an increase in academic rigor including an increase in the number of school days per
year, longer school days and higher testing standards. English scholar E.D. Hirsch made an influential attack on progressive
education, advocating an emphasis on “cultural literacy”—the facts, phrases, and texts
that Hirsch asserted are essential for decoding basic texts and maintaining communication. Hirsch’s ideas remain influential in conservative
circles into the 21st century. Hirsch’s ideas have been controversial because
as Edwards argues: Opponents from the political left generally
accuse Hirsch of elitism. Worse yet in their minds, Hirsch’s assertion
might lead to a rejection of toleration, pluralism, and relativism. On the political right, Hirsch has been assailed
as totalitarian, for his idea lends itself to turning over curriculum selection to federal
authorities and thereby eliminating the time-honored American tradition of locally controlled schools. By 1990, the United States spent 2 per cent
of its budget on education, compared with 30 per cent on support for the elderly.==21st century=====
Policy since 2000===”No Child Left Behind” was a major national
law passed by a bipartisan coalition in Congress in 2002, marked a new direction. In exchange for more federal aid, the states
were required to measure progress and punish schools that were not meeting the goals as
measured by standardized state exams in math and language skills. By 2012, half the states were given waivers
because the original goal that 100% students by 2014 be deemed “proficient” had proven
unrealistic.By 2012, 45 states had dropped the requirement to teach cursive writing from
the curriculum. Few schools start the school day by singing
the national anthem, as was once done. Few schools have mandatory recess for children. Educators are trying to reinstate recess. Few schools have mandatory arts class. Continuing reports of a student’s progress
can be found online, supplementing the former method of periodic report cards.By 2015, criticisms
from a broad range of political ideologies had cumulated so far that a bipartisan Congress
stripped away all the national features of No Child Left Behind, turning the remnants
over to the states. Beginning in the 1980s, government, educators,
and major employers issued a series of reports identifying key skills and implementation
strategies to steer students and workers towards meeting the demands of the changing and increasingly
digital workplace and society. 21st century skills are a series of higher-order
skills, abilities, and learning dispositions that have been identified as being required
for success in 21st century society and workplaces by educators, business leaders, academics,
and governmental agencies. Many of these skills are also associated with
deeper learning, including analytic reasoning, complex problem solving, and teamwork, compared
to traditional knowledge-based academic skills. Many schools and school districts are adjusting
learning environments, curricula, and learning spaces to include and support more active
learning (such as experiential learning) to foster deeper learning and the development
of 21st century skills.==Historiography==For much of the 20th century, the dominant
historiography, as exemplified by Ellwood Patterson Cubberley (1868–1941) at Stanford,
emphasized the rise of American education as a powerful force for literacy, democracy,
and equal opportunity, and a firm basis for higher education and advanced research institutions. It was a story of enlightenment and modernization
triumphing over ignorance, cost-cutting, and narrow traditionalism whereby parents tried
to block their children’s intellectual access to the wider world. Teachers dedicated to the public interest,
reformers with a wide vision, and public support from the civic-minded community were the heroes. The textbooks help inspire students to become
public schools teachers and thereby fulfill their own civic mission.The crisis came in
the 1960s, when a new generation of New Left scholars and students rejected the traditional
celebratory accounts, and identified the educational system as the villain for many of America’s
weaknesses, failures, and crimes. Michael Katz (1939–2014) states they: tried to explain the origins of the Vietnam
War; the persistence of racism and segregation; the distribution Of power among gender and
classes; intractable poverty and the decay of cities; and the failure of social institutions
and policies designed to deal with mental illness, crime, delinquency, and education. The old guard fought back in bitter historiographical
contests. The younger scholars largely promoted the
proposition that schools were not the solution To America’s ills, they were in part the cause
of Americans problems. The fierce battles of the 1960s died out by
the 1990s, but enrollment declined sharply in education history courses and never recovered. Most histories of education deal with institutions
or focus on the ideas histories of major reformers, but a new social history has recently emerged,
focused on who were the students in terms of social background and social mobility. Attention has often focused on minority, and
ethnic students. The social history of teachers has also been
studied in depth.Historians have recently looked at the relationship between schooling
and urban growth by studying educational institutions as agents in class formation, relating urban
schooling to changes in the shape of cities, linking urbanization with social reform movements,
and examining the material conditions affecting child life and the relationship between schools
and other agencies that socialize the young.The most economics-minded historians have sought
to relate education to changes in the quality of labor, productivity and economic growth,
and rates of return on investment in education. A major recent exemplar is Claudia Goldin
and Lawrence F. Katz, The Race between Education and Technology (2009), on the social and economic
history of 20th-century American schooling.==See also==
History of Catholic education in the United States
History of education in Missouri Education in the United States
Education reform Federal Involvement in US Education
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