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The Story of Public Education in America: PBS

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Rachel Galdamez

on 13 June 2013

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Transcript of The Story of Public Education in America: PBS

late 1800's
Urbanization of America, record numbers of immigrants

50% of children working in factories, not attending school
late 1800’s Urbanization of America, record numbers of immigrants
50% of children working in factories, not attending school

The Story of Public Education in America

PBS September 2001

Radical 80s
The majority of students are enrolled in school and 85% graduate.
A Nation at Risk
A-G requirements
Standards and Expectations
7 hour/220 day school year
Teacher prep, higher salaries, 11 month contract, mentoring
Testing, Choice and Competition
Choice and Charter Schools are born.
New York 1992
Core Knowledge vs. Progressivism
Intro 3
Percentage of US population that are students or teachers:
Education in the New World, prior to the Revolution
From 1776 - 1830: Defining the mission American education.
Noah Webster: (1758-1843) "Father of American Scholarship and Education"
Intro 1
The Common School
Sharon - 2
Joel - 1
The Gary Plan by William Wirt, Gary IN
Progressive Movement
Work-study-play motto

1917- 1918
John Hyland, mayoral candidate NYC attacks The Gary Plan
Riots over The Gary Plan; parents want academic focus
Return to traditional curriculum
WWI - Roosevelt calls for English Only curriculum
End of bilingual instruction
End of multicultural perspective in history books

Kindergarten, junior high, high school greatly expanded
New breed of progressive educators
Elwood P. Coverly and Lewis Terman of Stanford popularize IQ test
IQ test used to justify class/race/gender prejudice and career tracking

Schools segregated based on IQ tests or ethnic group
Industrial schools - African Americans
Boarding schools - Native Americans
Home economics - female students
Life Adjustment Education – all except high IQ’s

Cold War/Sputnik
Arthur E. Bestor campaigned for return to traditional curriculum
Dewey’s progressivism rooted out
curriculum swung back towards Math, Science, and Technology

late 1800's
Early 1950's
No team sports for women, many colleges closed to them
Average schooling for Mexican Americans was 5.4 years
African Americans segregated by law in 17 states.
72% of disabled children weren’t enrolled in school
1986- Crystal City, Texas
In 1968 Texas, 75 % of Mexican Americans dropped out of school by 8th grade.
School board members and ¾ of the teachers were white.
Walk outs were staged all over Texas, including a strike led by Jose Angel Gutiérrez.
Once on the school board, Gutiérrez instituted many changes including the hiring of many Spanish-speaking teachers and principals, a new curriculum that stressed Latino history and achievements, and bilingual education.

In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS the US Supreme Court eliminated segregation in public schools.

African American teachers didn’t have jobs once schools closed.
1972- Title IX
1% of medical degrees were awarded to women
7.4% of high school athletes were women.
Women were discouraged for playing sports, going to graduate school. Texts were biased against women and showed them in only domestic roles

Rachel - 4
Michelle - 2
According to National Center for Education statistics shows stability in reading scores and even a slight increase.
John Dewey publishes School and Society, sharply criticizing traditional curriculum

"A rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future."

Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal funds.
40% of high school athletes are women
50% of undergraduate degrees are awarded to women

In Detroit most white families had flocked to the suburbs and the inner city Detroit was 70% black.

Busing was used to integrate schools in urban areas where there was still a lot of segregation.

There was a lot of resistance to busing.
Intro 2
The big picture: Educational reform has transformed American society.
School is where we engage a broader world, independent from our parents.
School is the frontline for important societal battles:
Number of Students and Teachers in American Schools in 2012
49.8 million students attend public elementary and secondary schools.
5.3 million students attend private schools
1.3 million children attend public prekindergarten
3.3 million full-time-teachers work in public elementary and secondary schools
0.4 million full-time teachers work in private schools
21.6 million students attend US colleges and universities
1.5 million postsecondary teachers work in the US

83.24 million total number of students and teachers in the United States
Sources: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372 http://www.bls.gov/
83.24 million students and teachers in the United States
(divided by)
313.93 million total United States population in 2012.
26.54 % of US population are either students and teachers.

Part time teachers, graduate school TAs, superintendents, principals, assistant principals, office staff, speech therapists, counsellors, librarians, technology specialists, lunchroom attendants, part time teachers, yard duty staff, bus drivers, custodians, software developers, textbook manufacturers, etc.
Source http://www.census.gov/popclock/
Only larger New England towns were required to have schools
In other places, schools were private, if they existed at all.
Private, dame schools provided introduction to letters, bible verses, and younger child care.
Private tutoring for a small group of wealthy students.
Standard educational materials:
Horn Books, letters and protestant bible verses attached to a paddle.
New England Primer. First standardized textbook.
A great society requires a universal and free education system - 1778 proposal in Virginia.
3 years of general education to prepare men and women for family and civic life
Identify “geniuses” and provide advanced education for few, male, future leaders.
Limited educational goals for women, none for slaves.
Emphasis on abstract high-level goals met resistance from
lawmakers who valued vocational goals.
“Take away the food of man and his existence would cease
- take away his philosophy and he would hardly know it was gone.”
Despite his tremendous political power, was not able to enact in law
his educational policy goals.
Founded the University of Virginia
Thomas Jefferson: (1743-1826) Founding Father, 3rd President of the United States.
Believed in a national history built upon legends of the country’s founding fathers.
A new approach to education to help forge our own identity and improve upon European traditions.
Wrote and published the “Blue Back Speller”- Promoted a new Americanized language pronounced and spelled differently than British English. For example, “colour” became “color” and “centre” became “center” Between 1783 and 1890 - this text was widely used, over 60 million copies sold.
Produced the American dictionary - An American Dictionary of the English Language
Horace Mann: (1796 – 1859) Founder of the Common School
“Education beyond all other devices of human origin is the equalizer of the conditions of men. The great balance beam of the social machinery”
Became the first secretary of education, had no authority, but it fit with his goals of building institutions to help build the economy of the state.
1837 - 1852 He published the Common School Journal.
Visited over 1000 schools across New England and reported on them.
Self-funded a year long trip studying the Prussian school system.
State of education he observed:
Teacher was like a ringmaster, kids spent hours on benches, memorizing passages that they had bought from home.
School materials were not standardized, and inadequate.
Teachers had no training and turned over quickly.
Discipline was harsh - teachers routinely lashed students.
Cramped, poor quality buildings. 40-50 students in one small room.
“Clear away the surrounding forest which protects it and before the next gale is over the foundation stone would be all that would remain . Already aware of the danger, the mice have forsaken it.”
“The State takes better care of its livestock than of its children in school. “
People who could afford to were leaving the public school system because they were so bad.

Horace Mann: Part 2, Implementation of Common School reform.
His goals for the Common Schools:
Teach a common body of knowledge and equally prepare each student for life.
Free school system, that treats the rich and poor equally.
High quality public schools - so good that everyone would want to use them.
Merit should be able to rise.
No sectarian ideas in school - it should be common to all.
Plan was strongly opposed: People did not believe that schooling was a taxable issue. Thought that user should pay for school. Did not want the state “meddling” with their local schools.
Horace Mann’s Results:
Revolutionized and standardized school buildings
Changed school materials still standard today. Blackboards, desks, and textbooks, etc.
His writings were widely read, discussed, and influential throughout the country.
Improved teacher training, got free,
Widely adopted tax-supported education for the northern states.

Conflict over religion in schools:
By the 1840s, New York has adopted Horace Mann’s system.
Big debates over separation of Church and State.
Huge influx of immigrants. Half of New York City was foreign born. Many Irish Catholics.
John “Dagger John” Hughes, bishop, battled the bias in public schools.
Demanded that NYC provide city funds for Catholic schools.Give us our just proportion of our common school funds.
Disliked the anti-Catholic bias in texts, Protestant Bible, and more secular focus.
20,000 Irish students were removed from the school system and became a public problem.
Eventually became archbishop and founded the Catholic school system.
City denied request. Eventually school board manually removed offensive passages from books.
1843 Philadelphia Bible riots left 13 dead and a Catholic church burned to the ground.
Race Issues in Schools
In 1849, Roberts v Boston went to the Supreme Court. Lawyer, Charles Sumner, arguing for desegregation said:
“The school is the little world, in which the child is trained for the larger world of life, beginning there those relations of equality which he constitution and the laws promise to all. I conclude that there is but one kind of public school - free to all whether rich or poor, whether catholic or protestant, whether white or black, excluding none, comprehending all.”
Again it failed in court. But Roberts took their cause to the legislature and in 1855 a law passed abolishing segregation in Schools in Massachusetts.
In 1865, after the civil war, during Reconstruction, 4 million former slaves started to educate themselves.
Booker T. Washington described it as, “An entire race trying to go to school.”
⅔ of the African American population lived as slaves in the south.
Efforts to be educated harshly punished.
Some “sewing” schools, where students hid books under needlework.
In the North, education did not alway lead to better jobs or position, but it was seen as part of the struggle for freedom.
In Boston, in the 1840s efforts to desegregate the city school system begin.
Schools in Boston are segregated. Two accept African American students.
In 1846, inspired by former slave, Frederick Douglass, people petition for immediate end to segregation.
Committee investigates, finds condition of schools horrible. Separate but not equal.
Court denies request:
“In the case of colored children, we maintain that their peculiar physical mental and moral structure requires an educational treatment different from white children.“
Education in the Western states:
After the Civil War, US government required new states to establish nonsectarian public schools in their constitutions.
Towns used schools as a way to draw settlers.
School districts were huge, conditions were often very rough.
Women teachers were hired because they were cheaper.
Catherine Beecher began schools of teaching in New England and shipped teachers to the frontier.
School life:
Teacher more of a nurturer and less of a disciplinarian.
Literature, behaviour and national ideas.
McGuffy’s readers designed specifically for children of the west.
Readers tell moral tales:
“Work hard and acquire wealth, then you will be blessed by god.”
Annual spring exhibition featured a Spelling Bee. One of the big events of the year.
“God designed women to be the chief educators of our race.”
General State of Education by 1890:
By 1890, US providing more schooling to more students than any other nation on earth.
Majority attended, but they did not all attend together.
Native Americans were forced to go to boarding schools, taken from their families.
African Americans also excluded and established their own schools. From 1865 to 1890, the literacy rate grew from 5% to 70%.
Experiment of Universal Education was on its way, but still had a long way to go.
Free, tax supported education. Lots of progress and lots of failings.
The Big Take-Aways:
Important school reforms were first passionately and elegantly argued.
They were fiercely resisted, and rejected.
With persistence, and a shift in mechanism, the most idealistic ideas, eventually dominated.
If you care about the lives of the American people, school will be very important to you. This environment is the life of almost ⅓ of the population. School isn’t just a model of society that prepares you for professional life. It is a society and it is professional life.
Equality of opportunity, as related to race, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status
Responsibility of the government.
Content and quality of education.
Role of religion in civic life.
Universal, free education for all citizens.
Additional participants in the United States school system:
Objectives of school:
Teach ability to read the Bible and newspapers
Create law abiding citizens.
Instill fear of damnation.
Ability to calculate taxes.
Prepare students to take over the role of their parents in society.
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”

Urbanization of America, record numbers of immigrants

50% of children working in factories, not attending school

late 1800's
1983-1984 $500 million is spent on testing
Lowest bidder
"Beautiful, clean, school run at a profit!"
Cut services to students
Logo placement and TV ads
No improvement in test scores
Result - local contract bids
Kozol - a few alternative schools do not show the whole picture of what is happening to minority students.

Bush I - vouchers, came through in Milwaukee 1992. Enable poor people to make the same choice that rich can already make.

Kozol - the amount of money being offered is not enough to offer a true choice.

Both methodologies have shown improved test scores.
"A Nation at Risk." Research Center:. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 June 2013.
Full transcript