ERIC Number: ED245009
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Tales Out of School: Reports of East European Jewish Immigrants in New York City Schools, 1893-1917.
Brumberg, Stephan F.
The public schools responsible for educating hundreds of thousands of East European Jewish immigrant children in New York City between 1893 and 1917 had three major goals: scholastic preparation, especially literacy in English, acculturation, and socioeconomic stratification. According to information obtained from interviews of students and teachers who were in the schools before 1917 (all of whom remembered their experiences with fondness and pride), the schools were enormously successful in achieving the first two goals--goals which the immigrants shared. A number of factors blended together to provide the immigrant students with a new "American" persona: the curriculum, which taught American ideals and American ways and emphasized the commonality of American citizens; the teachers, who were looked on as role models of "Americanhood"; school rituals; high levels of structure and discipline; the enforced use of English; and underlying pan-Protestantism and the ignoring of Judaism and the students' historical and cultural roots. The German Jewish leadership aligned itself with New York's educational leaders in the promotion of rapid assimilation of Jewish immigrants. A drifting away from Jewish religion and culture thus often accompanied the "Americanization" of the eastern European immigrants. The schools' third goal, however--that of facilitating and rationalizing socioeconomic stratification--was not shared by immigrant students. They saw the schools as a way out of their confined communities and as means of achieving higher status and greater material rewards. Instead of maintaining the social order, then, schools became vehicles for upward socioeconomic mobility. (CMG)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Europe (East); New York (New York)
Note: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24, 1984).