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ERIC Number: EJ763310
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
The Traditional High School: Historical Debates over Its Nature and Function
Mirel, Jeffrey
Education Next, v6 n1 p14-21 Win 2006
For more than a century, American educators and education policymakers have chosen sides in a great debate about the nature and function of American high schools. The origins of this long-running argument can be traced to 1893, when the influential Committee of Ten, a bluechip panel of educators, issued a report proposing that all public high-school students receive a strong, liberal-arts education. Ever since then, fighting about whether high schools should be college prep for the masses or, as another blue-ribbon panel would put it 90 years later, a "cafeteria-style curriculum in which the appetizers and desserts can easily be mistaken for the main course." There have been, of course, winners and losers on both sides throughout this long discussion, as high schools have grown into multibillion-dollar institutions serving, or ill serving, hundreds of millions of American adolescents. Yet the question of winners and losers in this debate about secondary schools is, to borrow a phrase, academic. The reality is that, quite some time ago, high schools were set on a course of diversification. The questions today are whether and how much this "comprehensive high school" has contributed to the declining quality of secondary education in this country. On this issue, one can learn much from history. (Contains 1 figure.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States