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ERIC Number: ED199129
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Ideas Shaping American Education. Summary.
Parker, Franklin
This paper traces objectives and implications of philosophies which have shaped American education from colonial days to the 1980s. Two recurring themes are stressed--educational opportunity and quality. From the perspective of 200 years of educational experience, it can be seen that schooling has been available to the vast majority of American youth. Exceptions (i.e., southern blacks before the Civil War and children who labored in the factories of the industrializing north during the 19th century) can be more properly considered as a result of historical developments than as intended victims of educational deprivation per se. Efforts to increase the availability of public schooling have been widespread and frequent--much more widespread than efforts to improve educational quality. For example, in the 17th century, two school laws were passed in colonial Massachusetts to expand public schooling, in the 19th century, the land grant college movement extended higher education for the first time beyond New England; in the 1930s, major efforts were undertaken despite post-depression financial difficulties to implement experimental progressive education; and, during the 1960's, movements for social equality encouraged numerous educational innovations, such as Head Start and bilingual programs. Efforts to improve educational quality, on the other hand, have been fewer and more sporadic. Even the most notable recent attempt to bolster educational quality (the period of massive federal financing of educational improvements in response to the launching of Sputnik by the Russians), was overshadowed by the more egalitarian focuses on President Johnson's Great Society programs. The conclusion is that American education has been quite successful in meeting its objective of educating the masses and somewhat less successful in meeting the objective of providing education of a consistently high quality. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: United States