The American school history

History of American schooling, origins and early development. Types of American schools. People, who contributed to the American system of education. American school nowadays in comparison with its historical past, modern tendencies in the system.

Рубрика История и исторические личности
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Язык английский
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Курсовая работа 36 листов, 25 источников

Key words: history, education, American schooling, types of schools, system of education, development, methods of teaching

Object: The American school history

Methods of research: study and analysis of literature on the history of American school

Purpose: to study the history of American school

Objectives: to show some important fact about American education and its development

Results: the history of American education has been described

Recommendations: the results of the research can be used in the “Cultural studies”, “History studies”





1. History of American schooling; origins and early development; types of American schools (public, private, etc.)

1.1 History of American schooling

1.2 Origins and early development

1.3 Types of American schools

2. People who contributed to the American system of education

2.1 Philosophical Foundations

2.2 Pedagogical Progressivism

2.3 Administrative Progressivism

3. American school nowadays in comparison with its historical past. Continuity and change

3.1 The early days of American schooling

3.2 Problems in American Education nowadays

4. Modern tendencies in the system of American schooling

4.1 Communications skills

4.2 Math

4.3 History

4.4 Vocabulary




The object of study in this paper is the school history, but details the American school history. The topic is relevant, because the education is of the greatest interest for modern society, everyone wants to be educated nowadays.

The purpose of work is the study of history of American's education, as well as detailed consideration of the most different ways of education.

The aim of this paper is to disclose the following tasks: 1.History of American schooling; Origins and early development; types of American schools (public, private, etc.); 2.People who contributed to the American system of education; 3.American school nowadays in comparison with its historical past; 4.Modern tendencies in the system of American schooling.

Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of others, but may also be autodidactic. Any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. Education is commonly divided into stages such as preschool, primary school, secondary school and then college, university or apprenticeship.

Systems of schooling involve institutionalized teaching and learning in relation to a curriculum, which itself is established according to a predetermined purpose of the schools in the system. School systems are sometimes also based on religions, giving them different curricula.

United States of America has one of the most effective educational systems in the world because it ensures quality to the children of the country. The system is highly sophisticated and constructed with special care given to the educational needs of the student community. The Federal Government has enforced strict laws to make sure that each and every person is benefited with basic knowledge regardless of their financial conditions.

The educational system in the United States has seen many changes over the past 250 years. For such a long period of time, a lot has changed since that time.

In the United States today, laws require children of a certain age to attend some form of schooling, whether public, private or home school. For those in public schooling, the government provides free education with standardized curriculum. Schools educate people regardless of race, gender or economic background. This wasn't always the case, however. In the early days of American schooling, education was more of a privilege than a right. This remained the case until several people fought for a change, ultimately leading to today's modern school system.

The American system of school education differs from the system in some countries. There are state-supported public schools, private elementary schools, and private secondary schools. Public schools are free and private schools are fee-paying. Each individual state has its own sys-tem of public schools. Elementary education begins at the age of six with the first grade and continues up to the eighth grade. The elementary school is followed by four years of the secondary school or high as it is called. In some states the last two years of the elementary and the first years of the secondary school are combined into a junior high school. Besides giving general education, some high schools teach subjects useful to those who hope to find jobs in industry and agriculture. Some give preparatory education to those planning to enter colleges and universities.

In the year 2000, there were 76.6 million students enrolled in schools from kindergarten through graduate schools. Of these, 72 percent aged 12 to 17 were judged academically "on track" for their age (enrolled in school at or above grade level). Of those enrolled in compulsory education, 5.2 million (10.4 percent) were attending private schools.

Among the country's adult population, over 85 percent have completed high school and 27 percent have received a bachelor's degree or higher. The average salary for college or university graduates is greater than $51,000, exceeding the national average of those without a high school diploma by more than $23,000, according to a 2005 study by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2010 unemployment rate for high school graduates was 10.8%; the rate for college graduates was 4.9%.

The country has a reading literacy rate at 99% of the population over age 15, while ranking below average in science and mathematics understanding compared to other developed countries. In 2008, there was a 77% graduation rate from high school, below that of most developed countries.

The poor performance has pushed public and private efforts such as the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the ratio of college-educated adults entering the workforce to general population (33%) is slightly below the mean of other developed countries (35%) and rate of participation of the labor force in continuing education is high. A 2000s study by Jon Miller of Michigan State University concluded that "A slightly higher proportion of American adults qualify as scientifically literate as European or Japanese adults".

1. History of American schooling. Origins and early development. Types of American schools

1.1 History of American schooling

The history of education in the United States, often called foundations of education, is the study of educational policy, formal institutions and informal learning from the 17th to the 21st century.

The first American schools opened during the colonial era. As the colonies began to develop, many in New England began to institute mandatory education schemes. In 1642 the Massachusetts Bay Colony made "proper" education compulsory. Similar statutes were adopted in other colonies in the 1640s and 1650s. Virtually all of the schools opened as a result were private. The nation's first institution of higher learning, Harvard University, was founded in1636 and opened in 1638.Religious denominations established most early universities in order to train ministers. In New England there was an emphasis on literacy so that people could read the Bible. Most of the universities which opened between 1640 and 1750 form the contemporary Ivy League, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Brown, the University of Pennsylvania, and several others. After the American Revolution, the new national government passed the Land Ordinance of 1785, which set aside a portion of every township in the unincorporated territories of the United States for use in education. The provisions of the law remained unchanged until the Homestead Act of 1862. After the Revolution, an emphasis was put on education, especially in the northern states, which made the US have one of the highest literacy rates at the time. The school system remained largely private and unorganized until the 1840s. In fact, the first national census conducted in 1840 indicated that near-universal (about 97%) literacy among the white population had been achieved. The same data tables demonstrate that of the 1.8 millions girls between five and fifteen (and 1.88 million boys of the same age) about 55% attended the primary schools and academies. The data tables do not note the actual attendance rates, but only reflect the static numbers at the time of the U.S. census.

Data from the indentured servant contracts of German immigrant children in Pennsylvania from 1771-1817 showed that the number of children receiving education increased from 33.3% in 1771-1773 to 69% in 1787-1804. Additionally, the same data showed that the ratio of school education versus home education rose from .25 in 1771-1773 to 1.68 in 1787-1804[1]. The increase in the number of children being educated, and the fact that more students were being educated in school rather than at home, could help explain how near-universal literacy was achieved by 1840.

Education reformers such as Horace Mann of Massachusetts began calling for public education systems for all. Upon becoming the secretary of education in Massachusetts in 1837, Mann helped to create a statewide system of "common schools," which referred to the belief that everyone was entitled to the same content in education. These early efforts focused primarily on elementary education. The common-school movement began to catch on in the North. Connecticut adopted a similar system in 1849, and Massachusetts passed a compulsory attendance law in 1852.

It was not until after the Civil War and under Reconstruction governments, that the coalition of black and white Republicans in state legislatures established universal public education in the South. This was one of the major achievements of Reconstruction governments[2]. By 1870, every state provided free elementary education. Although in some states, education was first established as integrated, after white Democrats regained political power in the 1870s, they imposed segregation on all schools, and later on all public facilities. The South was struggling after the war, but as they had before the war, the wealthiest classes resisted taxes that would provide sufficient funding for education.

More significantly, through laws and new constitutions, white legislatures systematically disfranchised most African Americans and tens of thousands of poor whites in each Southern state from 1890-1908. The disfranchisement lasted for decades; in most states, it lasted with little relief until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s had gained passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965[3]. As one result, white-dominated legislatures consistently underfunded schools for African Americans. Most rural schools ran shortened schedules because children were needed in farming. It was chiefly due to the African American community's own tremendous efforts with the help of some Northern financial support in establishing schools and colleges, that 30,000 African American teachers were trained and by 1900, a majority of blacks in the South were literate [4].

By 1900, 31 states required children to attend school from the ages of 8- to 14-years-old. As a result, by 1910 72 percent of American children attended school. Half the nation's children attended one-room schools. In 1918, every state required students to at least complete elementary school. Lessons consisted of students reading aloud from their texts such as the "McGuffey Readers", and placed emphasis on rote memorization. Teachers often used physical punishment, such as hitting students on the knuckles with birch switches, for incorrect answers.

Because the public schools focused on assimilation, immigrants who were not Protestant organized to develop their own schools. This was also an effort to create a social environment more supportive than the often hostile natives who resented immigration by Catholics. In addition, Catholic communities raised money to build colleges and seminaries to train teachers and religious to head their churches[5]. The most numerous early Catholics were Irish immigrants in the early to mid-19th century, followed by Germans, Italians and other Catholics from southern and eastern Europe. By the time the later groups immigrated, Irish immigrants and their descendants had often built an extensive network of churches and schools in many cities. The Irish dominated the American Catholic Church for generations. Though the private schools met some opposition, in 1925 the Supreme Court ruled in "Pierce v. Society of Sisters" that students could attend private schools to comply with compulsory education laws.

1.2 Origins and early development

The first American schools in the thirteen original colonies opened in the 17th century. Boston Latin School was founded in 1635 and is both the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States. The first tax-supported public school was in Dedham, Massachusetts, and was run by Ralph Wheelock. Cremin, founded in 1970, stresses that colonists tried at first to educate by the traditional English methods of family, church, community, and apprenticeship, with schools later becoming the key agent in "socialization." At first, the rudiments of literacy and arithmetic were taught inside the family, assuming the parents had those skills. Literacy rates seem to have been much higher in New England, and much lower in the South. By the mid-19th century, the role of the schools had expanded to such an extent that many of the educational tasks traditionally handled by parents became the responsibility of the schools.

All the New England colonies required towns to set up schools, and many did so. In 1642 the Massachusetts Bay Colony made "proper" education compulsory; other New England colonies followed. Similar statutes were adopted in other colonies in the 1640s and 1650s. The schools were all male, with few facilities for girls. In the 18th century, "common schools," appeared; students of all ages were under the control of one teacher in one room. Although they were publicly supplied at the local level, they were not free, and instead were supported by tuition or "rate bills."

The larger towns in New England opened grammar schools, the forerunner of the modern high school. The most famous was the Boston Latin School, which is still in operation as a public high school. Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut, was another. By the 1780s, most had been replaced by private academies. By the early 19th century New England operated a network of elite private high schools, now called "prep schools," typified by Phillips Andover Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Deerfield Academy. They became the major feeders for Ivy League colleges in the mid-19th century. They became coeducational in the 1970s, and remain highly prestigious in the 21st century[6].

The colonies of New Spain and New France are known to have had facilities for the education of girls during the 1600s, and, in New Spain, possibly farther back, as is mentioned above. The Maryland mission that the Jesuits established in 1634 is known to have had facilities for educating girls as well, because the mission's annual records report that an Indian chief "brought his daughter, seven years old, whom he loves with great affection, to be educated among the English at St. Mary's." This exemplifies not only a school for Indians, but either a school for girls, or an early co-ed school.

The earliest continually operating school for girls in the United States is Ursuline Academy in New Orleans. It was founded in 1727 by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula. The Academy graduated the first female pharmacist, and the first woman to contribute a book of literary merit. It contained the first convent. It was the first free school and first retreat center for ladies, and first classes for female African-American slaves, free women of color, and Native Americans. In the region, Ursuline provided the first center of social welfare in the Mississippi Valley, first boarding school in Louisiana and the first school of music in New Orleans. Tax-supported schooling for girls began as early as 1767 in New England. It was optional and some towns proved reluctant. Northampton, Massachusetts, for example, was a late adopter because it had many rich families who dominated the political and social structures and they did not want to pay taxes to aid poor families. Northampton assessed taxes on all households, rather than only on those with children, and used the funds to support a grammar school to prepare boys for college. Not until after 1800 did Northampton educate girls with public money. In contrast, the town of Sutton, Massachusetts, was diverse in terms of social leadership and religion at an early point in its history. Sutton paid for its schools by means of taxes on households with children only, thereby creating an active constituency in favor of universal education for both boys and girls.

Historians point out that reading and writing were different skills in the colonial era. School taught both, but in places without schools, writing was taught mainly to boys and a few privileged girls. Men handled worldly affairs and needed to both read and write. Girls only needed to read (especially religious materials)[7]. This educational disparity between reading and writing explains why the colonial women often could read, but could not write and could not sign their names--they used an "X". There is little evidence of women teaching during the Spanish rule, although women taught each other within religious convents while also receiving instruction from priests.

The education of elite women in Philadelphia after 1740 followed the British model developed by the gentry classes during the early 18th century. Rather than emphasizing ornamental aspects of women's roles, this new model encouraged women to engage in more substantive education, reaching into the arts and sciences to emphasize their reasoning skills. Education had the capacity to help colonial women secure their elite status by giving them traits that their 'inferiors' could not easily mimic. Fatherly (2004) examines British and American writings that influenced Philadelphia during the 1740s-1770s and the ways in which Philadelphia women implemented and demonstrated their education.

1.3 Types of American schools

In the United States, state and local government have primary responsibility for education. The Federal Department of Education plays a role in standards setting and education finance, and some primary and secondary schools, for the children of military employees, are run by the Department of Defense.

Public school systems are supported by a combination of local, state, and federal government funding. Because a large portion of school revenues come from local property taxes, public schools vary widely in the resources they have available per student. Class size also varies from one district to another. Curriculum decisions in public schools are made largely at the local and state levels; the federal government has limited influence. In most districts, a locally elected school board runs schools. The school board appoints an official called the superintendent of schools to manage the schools in the district.

The largest public school system in the United States is in New York City, where more than one million students are taught in 1,200 separate public schools. Because of its immense size - there are more students in the system than residents in the eight smallest US states - the New York City public school system is nationally influential in determining standards and materials, such as textbooks[8].

Admission to individual public schools is usually based on residency. To compensate for differences in school quality based on geography, school systems serving large cities and portions of large cities often have magnet schools that provide enrollment to a specified number of non-resident students in addition to serving all resident students. This special enrollment is usually decided by lottery with equal numbers of males and females chosen. Some magnet schools cater to gifted students or to students with special interests, such as the sciences or performing arts.

Private schools in the United States include parochial schools (affiliated with religious denominations), non-profit independent schools, and for-profit private schools. Private schools charge varying rates depending on geographic location, the school's expenses, and the availability of funding from sources, other than tuition. For example, some churches partially subsidize private schools for their members. Some people have argued that when their child attends a private school, they should be able to take the funds that the public school no longer needs and apply that money towards private school tuition in the form of vouchers. This is the basis of the school choice movement.

Private schools have various missions: some cater to college-bound students seeking a competitive edge in the college admissions process; others are for gifted students, students with learning disabilities or other special needs, or students with specific religious affiliations. Some cater to families seeking a small school, with a nurturing, supportive environment. Unlike public school systems, private schools have no legal obligation to accept any interested student[9]. Admission to some private schools is often highly selective. Private schools also have the ability to permanently expel persistently unruly students, a disciplinary option not legally available to public school systems.

Private schools offer the advantages of smaller classes, under twenty students in a typical elementary classroom, for example; a higher teacher/student ratio across the school day, greater individualized attention and in the more competitive schools, expert college placement services. Unless specifically designed to do so, private schools usually cannot offer the services required by students with serious or multiple learning, emotional, or behavioral issues. Although reputed to pay lower salaries than public school systems, private schools often attract teachers by offering high-quality professional development opportunities, including tuition grants for advanced degrees. According to elite private schools themselves, this investment in faculty development helps maintain the high quality program that they offer.

2. People who contributed to the American system of education

Historians have debated whether a unified progressive reform movement existed during the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century. While some scholars have doubted the development of a cohesive progressive project, others have argued that while Progressive Era reformers did not march in lockstep, they did draw from a common reform discourse that connected their separate agendas in spirit, if not in kind. Despite these scholarly debates, historians of education have reached a consensus on the central importance of the Progressive Era and the educational reformers who shaped it during the early twentieth century. This is not to say that historians of education do not disagree-in fact, they disagree intensely-on the legacy of Progressive educational experiments. What they do agree on is that during the Progressive Era (1890-1919) the philosophical, pedagogical, and administrative underpinnings of what is, in the early twenty-first century, associated with modern schooling, coalesced and transformed, for better or worse, the trajectory of twentieth-century American education.

2.1 Philosophical Foundations

The Progressive education movement was an integral part of the early twentieth-century reform impulse directed toward the reconstruction of American democracy through social, as well as cultural, uplift. When done correctly, these reformers contended, education promised to ease the tensions created by the immense social, economic, and political turmoil wrought by the forces of modernity characteristic of fin-de-siиcle America. In short, the altered landscape of American life, Progressive reformers believed, provided the school with a new opportunity-indeed, a new responsibility-to play a leading role in preparing American citizens for active civic participation in a democratic society.

John Dewey (1859-1952), who would later be remembered as the "father of Progressive education," was the most eloquent and arguably most influential figure in educational Progressivism. A noted philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, Dewey graduated from the University of Vermont in 1879, taught high school briefly, and then earned his doctorate in philosophy at the newly formed Johns Hopkins University in 1884. Dewey taught at the University of Michigan from 1884 to 1888, the University of Minnesota from 1888 to 1889, again at Michigan from 1889 to 1894, then at the University of Chicago from 1894 to 1904, and, finally, at Columbia University from 1904 until his retirement in 1931.

During his long and distinguished career, Dewey generated over 1,000 books and articles on topics ranging from politics to art. For all his scholarly eclecticism, however, none of his work ever strayed too far from his primary intellectual interest: education. Through such works as The School and Society (1899), The Child and the Curriculum (1902), and Democracy and Education (1916), Dewey articulated a unique, indeed revolutionary, reformulation of educational theory and practice based upon the core relationship he believed existed between democratic life and education. Namely, Dewey's vision for the school was inextricably tied to his larger vision of the good society, wherein education-as a deliberately conducted practice of investigation, of problem solving, and of both personal and community growth-was the wellspring of democracy itself[11]. Because each classroom represented a microcosm of the human relationships that constituted the larger community, Dewey believed that the school, as a "little democracy," could create a "more lovely society."

Dewey's emphasis on the importance of democratic relationships in the classroom setting necessarily shifted the focus of educational theory from the institution of the school to the needs of the school's students. This dramatic change in American pedagogy, however, was not alone the work of John Dewey. To be sure, Dewey's attraction to child-centered educational practices was shared by other Progressive educators and researchers-such as Ella Flagg Young (1845-1918), Dewey's colleague and kindred spirit at the University of Chicago, and Granville Stanley Hall (1844-1924), the iconoclastic Clark University psychologist and avowed leader of the child study movement-who collectively derived their understanding of child-centeredness from reading and studying a diverse array of nineteenth and twentieth-century European and American philosophical schools. In general, the received philosophical traditions employed by Dewey and his fellow Progressives at once deified childhood and advanced ideas of social and intellectual interdependence. First, in their writings about childhood, Frenchman Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) emphasized its organic and natural dimensions; while English literary romantics such as William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and William Blake (1757-1827) celebrated its innate purity and piety, a characterization later shared by American transcendentalist philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) and Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). For these thinkers, childhood was a period of innocence, goodness, and piety that was in every way morally superior to the polluted lives led by most adults. It was the very sanctity of childhood that convinced the romantics and transcendentalists that the idea of childhood should be preserved and cultivated through educational instruction.

Second, and more important, Dewey and his fellow educational Progressives drew from the work of the German philosopher Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) and Swiss educator Johann Pestalozzi (1746-1827). Froebel and Pestalozzi were among the first to articulate the process of educating the "whole child," wherein learning moved beyond the subject matter and ultimately rested upon the needs and interests of the child. Tending to both the pupil's head and heart, they believed, was the real business of schooling, and they searched for an empirical and rational science of education that would incorporate these foundational principles. Froebel drew upon the garden metaphor of cultivating young children toward maturity, and he provided the European foundations for the late-nineteenth-century kindergarten movement in the United States. Similarly, Pestalozzi popularized the pedagogical method of object teaching, wherein a teacher began with an object related to the child's world in order to initiate the child into the world of the educator.

Finally, Dewey drew inspiration from the ideas of philosopher and psychologist William James (1842-1910). Dewey's interpretation of James's philosophical pragmatism, which was similar to the ideas underpinning Pestalozzi's object teaching, joined thinking and doing as two seamlessly connected halves of the learning process. By focusing on the relationship between thinking and doing, Dewey believed his educational philosophy could equip each child with the problem-solving skills required to overcome obstacles between a given and desired set of circumstances. According to Dewey, education was not simply a means to a future life, but instead represented a full life unto itself[12, pp. 134-140].

Taken together, then, these European and American philosophical traditions helped Progressives connect childhood and democracy with education: Children, if taught to understand the relationship between thinking and doing, would be fully equipped for active participation in a democratic society. It was for these reasons that the Progressive education movement broke from pedagogical traditionalists organized around the seemingly outmoded and antidemocratic ideas of drill, discipline, and didactic exercises.

2.2 Pedagogical Progressivism

The pedagogical Progressives who embraced this child-centered pedagogy favored education built upon an experience-based curriculum developed by both students and teachers. Teachers played a special role in the Progressive formulation for education as they merged their deep knowledge of, and affection for, children with the intellectual demands of the subject matter. Contrary to his detractors, then and now, Dewey, while admittedly antiauthoritarian, did not take child-centered curriculum and pedagogy to mean the complete abandonment of traditional subject matter or instructional guidance and control. In fact, Dewey criticized derivations of those theories that treated education as a mere source of amusement or as a justification for rote vocationalism. Rather, stirred by his desire to reaffirm American democracy, Dewey's time- and resource-exhaustive educational program depended on close student-teacher interactions that, Dewey argued, required nothing less than the utter reorganization of traditional subject matter.

Although the practice of pure Deweyism was rare, his educational ideas were implemented in private and public school systems alike. During his time as head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago (which also included the fields of psychology and pedagogy), Dewey and his wife Alice established a University Laboratory School. An institutional center for educational experimentation, the Lab School sought to make experience and hands-on learning the heart of the educational enterprise, and Dewey carved out a special place for teachers. Dewey was interested in obtaining psychological insight into the child's individual capacities and interests. Education was ultimately about growth, Dewey argued, and the school played a crucial role in creating an environment that was responsive to the child's interests and needs, and would allow the child to flourish.

Similarly, Colonel Francis W. Parker, a contemporary of Dewey and devout Emersonian, embraced an abiding respect for the beauty and wonder of nature, privileged the happiness of the individual over all else, and linked education and experience in pedagogical practice. During his time as superintendent of schools in Quincy, Massachusetts, and later as the head of the Cook Country Normal School in Chicago, Parker rejected discipline, authority, regimentation, and traditional pedagogical techniques and emphasized warmth, spontaneity, and the joy of learning. Both Dewey and Parker believed in learning by doing, arguing that genuine delight, rather than drudgery, should be the by-product of manual work. By linking the home and school, and viewing both as integral parts of a larger community, Progressive educators sought to create an educational environment wherein children could see that the hands-on work they did had some bearing on society.

While Progressive education has most often been associated with private independent schools such as Dewey's Laboratory School, Margaret Naumberg's Walden School, and Lincoln School of Teacher's College, Progressive ideas were also implemented in large school systems, the most well-known being those in Winnetka, Illinois, and Gary, Indiana. Located some twenty miles north of Chicago on its affluent North Shore, the Winnetka schools, under the leadership of superintendent Carleton Washburne, rejected traditional classroom practice in favor of individualized instruction that let children learn at their own pace. Washburne and his staff in the Winnetka schools believed that all children had a right to be happy and live natural and full lives, and they yoked the needs of the individual to those of the community. They used the child's natural curiosity as the point of departure in the classroom and developed a teacher education program at the Graduate Teachers College of Winnetka to train teachers in this philosophy; in short, the Winnetka schools balanced Progressive ideals with basic skills and academic rigor.

Like the Winnetka schools, the Gary school system was another Progressive school system, led by superintendent William A. Wirt, who studied with Dewey at the University of Chicago. The Gary school system attracted national attention for its platoon and work-study-play systems, which increased the capacity of the schools at the same time that they allowed children to spend considerable time doing hands-on work in laboratories, shops, and on the playground. The schools also stayed open well into the evening hours and offered community-based adult education courses. In short, by focusing on learning-by-doing and adopting an educational program that focused on larger social and community needs, the Winnetka and Gary schools closely mirrored Dewey's own Progressive educational theories[13].

2.3 Administrative Progressivism

While Dewey was the most well-known and influential Progressive educator and philosopher, he by no means represented all that Progressive education ultimately became. In the whirlwind of turn-of-the-century educational reform, the idea of educational Progressivism took on multiple, and often contradictory, definitions. Thus, at the same time that Dewey and his followers rejected traditional methods of instruction and developed a "new education" based on the interests and needs of the child, a new cadre of professionally trained school administrators likewise justified their own reforms in the name of Progressive education.

Administrative Progressives shared Dewey's distaste for nineteenth-century education, but they differed markedly with Dewey in their prescription for its reform: administrative Progressives wanted to overthrow "bookish" and rigid schooling by creating what they believed to be more useful, efficient, and centralized systems of public education based on vertically integrated bureaucracies, curricular differentiation, and mass testing.

Professional school administrators relied on managerial expertise in order to efficiently supervise increasingly large public school systems. Significantly, the new administrators, borrowing the language and practice of efficiency experts like Frederick W. Taylor, attempted to rationalize disparate school districts within one hierarchically arranged system of primary, middle, and high school institutions. Powerful school boards-often comprising elite business and civic leaders-hired professionally trained school superintendents to implement policies and to oversee the day-to-day operations of these vast educational systems. The superintendent, often a male, distanced himself from the mostly female corps of teachers, not to mention the students the school was intended to serve. In the name of efficiency, superintendents relied on "scientific," if often sterile, personnel management techniques, which had been developed by and for private industry and imported to the school setting by way of business-friendly school boards and through graduate training at the newly developed schools of education[12, pp. 235-238].

The school's turn toward bureaucratic efficiency directly shaped curricular construction. In particular, the idea of differentiation became a new watchword in administrative Progressive circles, reflecting the burgeoning economic and status markers signified by the attainment of educational credentials. By differentiating the curriculum along academic and vocational tracks, school administrators sought to meet the needs of different classes and calibers of students, and to more tightly couple educational training with educational outcomes. While administrators justified this curricular innovation (which was most often used in the high schools) on the basis of equal opportunity for all students based on ability, it reflected a larger, more significant shift in the basic aims and objectives of American education. Where the school once provided intellectual and moral training, in the face of an increasingly diverse student population, Progressive administrators took their chief professional administrative responsibility to be the preparation of students for their future lives as workers in the American labor force.

For many contemporary observers, however, curricular differentiation was little more than a euphemism for "social control," which critics suggested curtailed liberal education in order to meet the labor demands of America's budding industrial society. While this is a cynical view of the Progressive administrative drive, there is much justification for it. Founded in 1906 by a committee of educators and business and industrial leaders, the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education (NSPIE) helped organize vocational education programs in high schools around the country during the first several decades of the twentieth century. Vocational education, which critics conveniently, if incorrectly, linked to Progressive education, was expressly designed to train students for immediate employment following, and often in lieu of, graduation.

On the other hand, administrative Progressives justified the rise of vocational tracks by pointing to the relatively miniscule college-going population and by proclaiming it as an effective means of assimilating newly arrived immigrants into American life and institutions. That these students' high school education was essentially terminated before it ever started was of little concern, for in the face of rapid social upheaval, which reformers believed eroded the traditional institutions of church and family, the school was the last best hope to inculcate immigrants with American values, while simultaneously providing industry with a consistent influx of trained workers.

The interest in the efficient management of bureaucratic school systems and students was strengthened further by developments in educational psychology and intelligence testing. Among the twentieth century's prominent educational psychologists, E. L. Thorndike (1874-1949)-who studied under William James at Harvard, and taught at Columbia University's Teachers College during Dewey's tenure-was undoubtedly the most influential. Presaging the rise of post-World War I mass intelligence testing by relying on intelligence tests in his own studies as early as 1903, Thorndike's research advanced a narrowly focused stimulus-response definition of intelligence that justified the spread of worker training through vocational education at the same time that his mechanistic conception of intelligence corrupted Dewey's own ideas about the organic connection between thinking and doing. Thorndike, relying on data gathered from his study of 8,564 high school students in the early 1920s, labeled his theory of intelligence psychological connectionism. Thorndike likened the mind to a "switchboard" where neural bonds (or connections) were created between stimuli and responses. He believed that students of higher intellect formed more and better bonds more quickly than students of lower intellect.

For the administrative Progressives, Thorn-dike's findings were nothing short of revolutionary: By emphasizing the preponderant role of native intelligence through the statistical analysis of mass-administered intelligence tests, Thorndike and his fellow testers-H. H. Goodard, Lewis H. Terman, and Robert M. Yerkes, among them-provided school officials and policymakers with scientifically incontrovertible evidence in favor of increased psychometric testing and pupil sorting. In comparison with Dewey's more human and material-intensive approach to education, which required individualized student attention and creative pedagogy, Thorndike's conception helped reify separate curricula and perpetuate patterns of unequal access. Precisely (if paradoxically) because of the malleability of the idea of Progressive educational reform, it was possible for both pedagogical and administrative Progressives to advance their radically different agendas in the name of democracy during the first several decades of the twentieth century[14].

3. American school nowadays in comparison with its historical past. Continuity and change

3.1 The early days of American schooling

In the United States today, laws require children of a certain age to attend some form of schooling, whether public, private or home school. For those in public schooling, the government provides free education with standardized curriculum. Schools educate people regardless of race, gender or economic background. This wasn't always the case, however. In the early days of American schooling, education was more of a privilege than a right. This remained the case until several people fought for a change, ultimately leading to today's modern school system.

Early Influences

The first settlers within American colonies in New England hailed from Europe, and with them they brought a European belief with regard to education. Early colonial schooling focused on two methods of teaching depending on the socioeconomic background of the students. Lower class students received the bare minimum education, learning to read, write, perform simple math and study religious teachings. Children of upper class citizens received more comprehensive education and could attend secondary schools. Schools then focused on Puritan education beliefs and taught students to read the Bible and learn lessons from it.

School Settings

Rather than have institutionalized schools, early schools in America tended to be nothing more than a dedicated area of a person's home. As more religious groups flocked to the United States, they would begin to create schools to educate children based on their religion and cultural activities. As schools began to be institutionalized, small personalized schools disappeared and were replaced with single-room schoolhouses. In these schools, students of all ages were taught by a single teacher on the same subject. Children sat on stools or at long tables and used small chalkboards to write lessons.

Jefferson's Influence

Fourteen states had constitutions by 1791, half of which included educational provisions. The direction of schooling met with disapproval from several people at the time. Among them was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson felt that schools should be under government control. He pushed for education that was free and comprehensive regardless of a family's status in the community or their religious background. Jefferson found supporters of his government-run school regulations in people such as George Washington, Noah Webster and Benjamin Rush. However, his ideas were difficult to enact thanks to the political and economic climate at the time.

Minority Schooling

Women, African-Americans and Native Americans were excluded from early schools. Slaves learned as much as they needed to follow orders from their masters, while Native Americans received no schooling at all; instead, religious groups would attempt to convert the Native Americans using missionaries without teaching them. Women could enroll in dame schools, if they could afford it. Dame schools taught basics such as reading, writing and some math, in addition to household skills like cooking and sewing. Schools excluded minorities for many years until after the Civil War. Influence from individuals like Booker T. Washington and Mary McCleod Bethune ensured a place for African-Americans in schools[15, p. 135].

3.2 Problems in American Education nowadays

american schooling education

According to researchers and educators, American education system is far from perfect and falters on several parameters.

An effective education system plays an important role in the development and success of a country. America became one of the most powerful countries on the basis of its technological prowess which was a result of an effective education system. Today, America spends more money on education than any other country in the world. However, educators are of the view that there are serious problems with today's education system, and it either needs to be restructured or revamped. They back their claims by the findings of the several reports on the quality of education in America. The United States ranks 19th in the list of student scientific literacy, 24th in mathematical ability, 12th in reading ability and 26th in world-solving ability. This pales in comparison to other developing countries where the government money spent per child is significantly lesser. So, lack of capital, surely, is not the problem. According to researchers, there are some chronic problems which are plaguing America's education system.

High Attrition Rate Among Teachers

Teachers are often made the scapegoats for the problems in American education. There have been calls to restructure the teachers' union so that individuals who are unqualified for the job can be removed and replaced by more qualified ones. The reality on the ground is that the job of teachers is much more difficult than what it seems. Difficult work assignments, long working hours, work pressure and above all, reality shock are some of the challenges teachers face on an everyday basis. It is not surprising then this field has seen an attrition rate of around 50% in the past decade, causing losses worth $7 billion annually. Also, around 44% of teachers quit in the first five years of their career, an alarming 85% of those who are hired is because of the vacancies created by attrition. Blaming teachers solely would mean turning a blind eye to the problems that they face in their profession. Many people presume that a teaching job is less stressful to one in the corporate world, but an inside assessment will tell you that it encompasses a great deal of responsibility and ownership. There are deadlines to be met and the challenge of controlling a classroom is demanding, if not stiff. The consequences can be seen on the already burdened education budget. Hiring new staff year after year causes the state to lose billions of dollars which otherwise could have been spent on improving the educational infrastructure. Also, attrition means that students have to be content with teachers who may not be fully devoted to teaching and hence, not the perfect professionals to do the job. The solution is not easy and there is no magic-wand which will alleviate these issues. But, the need of the hour is to find potential solutions rather than passing the buck around. Administrators who have the authority to make important decisions should work together with academicians to figure out what will work in the best interests of the teachers and students. This can include providing assistance to new teachers who are in for a shock when they face numerous challenges while carrying out their job. These teachers can be helped with classroom management strategies and introductory classes which prepares them for the real thing.

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