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American History of Education
Transcript of American History of Education
Horace Mann is known for promoting the “common school movement” more than anyone, and he wrote many speeches to try to convince all peoples to support “free public education” for all social classes (Gaither, 2011, Sec 3.2). This type of system brought the different social classes together so that all students had an equal opportunity education. Forcing Education on Native Americans – Richard Henry Pratt founded one of the first “off-reservation boarding schools” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 4.5) for Native Americans. The whites wanted to transform them “in the white man’s image,” so “policymakers set out to assimilate Native American children” by forcing them to attend these boarding schools. The younger children went to school on the reservation, but then they were sent to the schools off the reservations, completely separated from their families. The text states, “By 1899 the federal government was running 153 boarding schools for Native Americans” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 4.5). New Technology for the Blind – The Brailler was invented so that the blind would have a literal way to communicate, much like the typewriter taking the place of handwriting. This machine “allowed the blind to type in Braille by providing six keys corresponding to the six raised dots out of which each letter and punctuation mark in Braille is made” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 7.2). Before the Brailler was made, the blind used a “dot system known as New York Point” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 7.2). After the Brailler was invented, Braille prevailed over other styles of writing for the blind, including New York Point. Eventual Removal of Religion in Schools – Before the early 1900s, the Bible was central to the curriculum in the colonial schools. Over time, it was slowly replaced with secular text books. The text states, “Most parts of the country were religiously very homogeneous, so much so that there wasn’t much need to reinforce religious beliefs in school” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 3.3). Their beliefs were so diverse that to teach one faith would have caused conflict as it had in the past between Catholics and Protestants. Aptitude Tests Become Part of Curriculum – Aptitude tests were developed in order to measure one’s intelligence. The text states, “A pair of French psychologists, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, were working out a scaled series of tests to measure general intelligence” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 4.3). By 1910, these IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests were “translated into English … by eugenicist Henry Herbert Goddard” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 4.3). He believed these tests could weed out the “mental defectives,” because he believed that defective intelligence was inherited. He thought that they would be of good use in the schools as well, and “he trained teachers to administer [the tests]” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 4.3). This became part of the teachers’ duties in educating the students. Smith-Hughes Act Provides Funds for Alternative Programs – The purpose of this law being passed was to provide “$1.7 million for high school vocational programs” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 9.2). The government wanted to make sure they kept up with other industrialized countries economically (Gaither, 2011). So, the schools began to provide vocational classes, such as “home economics, agriculture, and the industrial arts” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 9.2). By 1926, the funding “appropriated” was up to $7.2 million (A New Association Is Born, 2002, p. 20) (Gaither, 2011, Sec 9.2). Technology Fails in the 1920s – Thomas Edison said “’The motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system’ (Cuban, 1986, p. 9)” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 8.5). He was wrong at the time. Film was used for “supplemental purposes,” but not more than that. The schools had limited funds, and there really wasn’t much on film that was usable for teaching at that time. There were also some technological issues that the teachers didn’t necessarily have the patience for. It is much more prevalent in today’s classrooms. Eight Year Study to Prove Progressive Programs Work Better – At a time when the Progressives were attempting to change the way students are taught in the classroom, a study “called the Eight Year Study” was started. According to the text, they “tracked 30 public and private schools around the country for 8 years, beginning in 1933” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 8.5). The schools that were part of the study “were asked to create alternative programs that would “make it possible for the children to “work on projects connected to real human needs” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 8.5). After the study was done, the results were positive as students who were part of the study did just as well as, and sometimes better than, the other students in the regular curriculum. Better Quality Education for Special Needs Students – The text states, “33 states had passed legislation mandating education of the “physically handicapped,” and 16 had legislation on the books requiring and setting parameters for the education of children with mental disabilities (Winzer, 1993, pp. 373-374)” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 7.4). This happened after World War II when “many adults with disabilities” worked successfully “in the nation’s factories” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 7.4). This led to increased “enrollment in special classes,” and it also brought about more schools “offering special education (Winzer, 1993, pp. 373-374)” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 7.4). Also, the number of teachers increased, and the “curriculum improved as well (Winzer, 1993, pp. 373-374)” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 7.4). Life Adjustment, New Progressive Curriculum – After World War II, Communism seemed to be a real potential threat to the United States as it “was proving attractive to many nations around the world” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 5.1). With the onset of the Cold War, Progressives took advantage of this time to continue to push toward a new type of curriculum that would be better “suited to modern life” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 5.1). According to the text, “One of the most prominent functionalist approaches, articulated by vocational educator Charles Prosser, was Life Adjustment (Kliebard, 2003)” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 5.1). This type of teaching was more student-centered, and the “subject matter was to be grounded in present living conditions, preparing students for adult life in the modern home, workplace, and political sphere” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 5.1). The progressives wanted to get away from the old British ways and thought the schools needed to provide an “American curriculum that would prepare them for American citizenship” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 5.1). Brown II, One Small Step Forward for Minorities – In 1954, the NAACP filed a “class-action lawsuit in Topeka, Kansas in an ongoing effort to bring about integration, because they felt that the “separate but equal” law would not allow for “a truly equal segregated system” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 5.2). The Oliver Brown vs. Board of Education case was against four Southern states that came to be named after Oliver Brown (Gaither, 2011). They had the support of Justice Warren who believed that the unequal status of blacks had a detrimental effect on them physiologically, and the NAACP was successful in this case. In 1955, there was “a second decision, often called Brown II, mandating that district courts see to it that schools desegregate “with all deliberate speed” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 5.2). Ultimately, these lawsuits “provoked tremendous changes in schooling policy both North and South” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 5.2). National Defense Education Act (NDEA) – This law was created by “Carl Elliott and Lister Hill, both Alabama Democrats who” wanted to be able to receive “federal assistance for their state’s underresourced public school system” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 9.3). They took advantage of the tensions between the United States and Russia in order to convince Congress to pass this law. It worked, and they passed NDEA in 1958 (Gaither, 2011). This was at a time when “education had suddenly become a matter of national defense (Reese, 2007)” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 9.3). PARC (Pennsylvania for Retarded Citizens) vs. Commonwealth of PA. – This was a court case that brought to light the horrible treatment of the residents at an institution that housed residents who had “various disabilities.” They were separated from others so they couldn’t get pregnant and have children (Gaither, 2011). In the 1960s, NBC aired a “five-part investigative series […] called ‘Suffer the Little Children’,” which revealed incredibly horrible abuse of the residents (Gaither, 2011, Ch.7 Intro). This case was considered to be a model “of what happened nationally in special education” (Gaither, 2011, Ch. 7 Intro), and contributed toward the eventual integration of children with special needs in the school system. Equal Opportunity Education for Special Needs Students – Public Law 94-142 was passed so that children with special needs would be allowed to have “’a free appropriate public education … designed to meet their unique needs’” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 7.4). This law made sure that their rights as well as their parents’ rights “are protected.” Thirdly, “it promised to [give aid to the state and local districts] to provide such an education.” Lastly, they would monitor “state special education programs” to make sure the children are being provided with what they need (Gaither, 2011, Sec 7.4). Staying out of Court – They changed the name of the PL94-142, which used to be called the Education of all Handicapped Children Act to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) (Gaither, 2011). This new name emphasized the “individual” as opposed to emphasizing the “disability” (Gaither, 2011). Along with the name-change was “an authorized mediation process,” which gave parents the opportunity to resolve any issues “with schools and other educational agencies” rather than going to court and suing the board of education or the school (Gaither, 2011). Technology Today – There was a study done in this country in 2010 that showed “that 97% of public school teachers had at least one computer in their classrooms (Gray, Thomas, & Lewis, 2010)” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 8.5). This study showed that only a little less than half made a lot of use of the computer for teaching (Gray, Thomas, & Lewis, 2010)” (Gaither, 2011, Sec 8.5). Today, some schools have I-pads in every room while other schools are not adequately supplied with Personal Computers for students to use.
In conclusion, there have been many changes to the American Educational System. However, there is still room for improvement. I would like to see a more equal allocation of funds to rural, suburban, and city schools. And, I would like to see more accountability on the Board of Education and Principals to make sure that the students receive all of the necessary supplies, such as pens, pencils, books, etc. Overall, I believe our educational system needs to get back to focusing on the students learning, and less on assessment testing. The history of education in America begins almost as soon as The European colonists settled in New England in the 1600s. From there, education has evolved over time, rather than changing suddenly (Gaither, 2011). Some changes are for the better, such as equal rights for all minorities. Some changes haven’t necessarily made our educational system better, such as the Native Americans being forced to live in a way they did not want to. Here is an historical timeline of some of the events that changed our educational system throughout history. In conclusion, there have been many changes to the American Educational System. However, there is still room for improvement. I would like to see a more equal allocation of funds to rural, suburban, and city schools. And, I would like to see more accountability on the Board of Education and Principals to make sure that the students receive all of the necessary supplies, such as pens, pencils, books, etc. Overall, I believe our educational system needs to get back to focusing on the students learning, and less on assessment testing. Reference Page
Gaither, M. (2011). History of American education. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Kaestle, C. F. (2008, April 3). Victory of the Common School Movement: A turning point in American educational history. Historians on America. Retrieved from http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/publication/2008/04/20080423212501eaifas0.8516133.html#axzz1Ybmrpj3c
Youtube. (1968). Suffer the Little Children: A Peek into the History of Eugenics and Child Abuse by the State - Pennsylvania Pennhurst. Retrieved from