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ERIC Number: ED308035
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988
Pages: 44
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Ideological Foundations of Midwest Rural Education.
Theobald, Paul
A relationship exists between agrarian thought and the practice of formal schooling in the rural Midwest. Three traditions have shaped agrarian thinking about democracy and its application to social institutions, especially education. Fundamentalism, localism, and pastoralism have combined to form the ideological base for rural resistance to educational reform exhibited by rural boards of education throughout the history of the Middle West. The development of these traditions can be viewed in four time periods. In colonial times, the Puritans influenced the development of fundamentalism, which was transported to the Midwest. The period between the Revolution and the Civil War marked the development of localism. The years between 1865 and 1920 saw the development of the pastoral ideal in agrarian thinking. After 1920, the traditions were slowly eroded, accompanied by steady rural population decline. All three theories took hold in the Midwest and continue to work in opposition to district consolidation, higher teacher salaries, and other contemporary educational reforms. Agrarian communities have encouraged simplicity and a conscientious consumer ethic, often manifesting itself in the kind of books, equipment, school buildings, and opportunities offered to district schoolchildren. Mass media, agricultural mechanization, and migration to urban areas have somewhat lessened the impact of agrarianism and consequently there has been more and more rural district consolidation and school change. It is no coincidence that in states least affected by the spread of industrialism, such as the Dakotas and Nebraska, rural resistance to centralization of education remains quite vocal. Contains 54 references. (ALL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A