ERIC Number: ED305730
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr-8
Reference Count: N/A
Problems of Democracy: A Case Study in Curricular Change.
Evans, Ronald W.
This study is a history of the societal-problems approach in social studies education as revealed in secondary school social studies textbooks used in Problems of Democracy courses from 1895 to 1985. The central thesis is that the definition of the problems approach and the problems selected for study by educators as illustrated by the textbooks reflect their definitions of the "worthy society," their values, hopes, fears, and political beliefs, as well as the crucial issues of the day and underlying power relationships in American society. Beyond explaining the origins, development, and decline of the problems approach, the study includes a critical analysis of the "problems" selected for study, textbook space allocation, treatment of specific problems that reflect ideology, and the conception of a problem put forth by various educators. The study used quantitative methods to examine 135 textbooks in order to determine the average number of text pages devoted to 60 "problems" falling into 7 major problem areas during each time period: skills, citizenship, personal, international, social, economic, and political. The central finding of the study is that treatment of societal problems was determined primarily by the internal norms of educators; their values, educational philosophy, and political beliefs; and their perception of the problems of American society. (TE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Educational Research Organization (Stratton Mountain, VT, April 8, 1987).