ERIC Number: ED184917
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Are Social Education and Compulsory Education Compatible? Barely.
A tension exists between the goals of social education and the nature of the compulsory school system. Compulsory education was established late in the 19th century as a response to the trend toward an urban industrial society. The industrial world required workers who were punctual, attentive, and quiet; thus, compulsory education was seen as a means by which children could be instilled with those attributes. Modern education continues to promote attitudes which reflect the establishment. Social studies was introduced as a field of instruction early in the 20th century. Ironically, its goals of conceptually-based teaching, inquiry, relevance to students, and valuing processes are rarely achieved in practical classroom situations. The tension between social studies and the educational system exists in their conflicting premises: the educational system stresses patriotic obedience and reliance on the present institutions of government, whereas social studies goals emphasize development of free-thinking individuals who are critical of all forms of statism and believe in flexible, decentralized, democratic forms of government. As a step toward reconciling differences between the two, teachers will have to regard teaching as a positive subversive activity; encourage students to critically examine conventional conceptions of politics, economics, and social issues; and support curricula that promote critical inquiry. (AV)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, Compulsory Education, Conflict, Critical Thinking, Democracy, Educational Change, Educational History, Educational Objectives, Elementary Secondary Education, Government (Administrative Body), Power Structure, Public Education, Relevance (Education), Social Studies, Student Attitudes
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies, College and University Faculty Assembly (Portland, OR, November 1979).