Chapter 5 Education in the United States: Its Historical Roots by w3QJ0p6



               Historical Roots of
             Education in the United

ED 1010
Mar 3 2009
  The New England Colonies
Puritans - Religion/Bible dominated
Local Control of education, but no separation of
  church and state.
• 1642 – General Court of Massachusetts Law
   • Required that children attend school. First attempt to
     make education compulsory
• 1647 Old Deluder Satan Act
   • Required every town of 50 families to hire a teacher of
     reading or writing. Established public responsibility
     for education.
   • Schools controlled by religious leaders
   • Dame schools / Blab Schools
   • Rote memorizations & Recitation                           2
              Middle Colonies
• Made of more diverse group of emigrants. Came
  from different parts of England than the Puritans.
• Quaker Schools taught to a diverse group of
  learners (Native Americans, African Americans
  and others)
• Franklin Academy offered students a choice in
  their course of study free of all religious ties
  (traditional subjects including navigation, math,
  surveying, bookkeeping). “Real world” classes
• Secondary level education had a place
• Precedents included practical (hands on) rather
  than intellectual course work, nonsectarian (public)
  schools, and much diversity offered in course
  work.                                                  3
       The Southern Colonies

• Difficult for a lot of the children to attend school
  because of few towns and great distances between
• Education was left to the wealthy landowners
  (Traveling tutors) Many sent sons to England to
  be educated in English schools.
• Education for slaves was nonexistent – educating a
  slave could be a felony before the civil war.

First Amendment
• Congress shall make no law respecting an
  establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
  free exercise thereof; or abridging the
  freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the
  people peaceably to assemble, and to
  petition the Government for a redress of

          Establishment Clause
 Current Religious Controversies
 from the Colonial Period
 • Should prayer be allowed in schools?
 • Should federal money be used to provide
   instruction in religious schools?
 • What role should religion play in
   character and sex education?

Other discussion questions
1. How did the diversity of the original colonies shape the
       educational system in the United States?
2. What role did religion play in colonial schools? What are the
       implications of this role for contemporary schools? 6
Early National Period (1775-1820)
• Established a major educational role for
  states (Tenth Amendment to
• Also established the idea that the federal
  government should use education to
  improve people’s lives and help the
  nation grow

Tenth Amendment
• The powers not delegated to the United
  States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by
  it to the States, are reserved to the States
  respectively, or to the people.

 Common School Movement (1820-1865)
Horace Mann, Massachusetts lawyer and legislator,
  believed in having taxpayers help finance public
  education. Wanted a public school for all including
  education for women, felt women were better suited
  to teach the young. In 1839, first Normal School set
  up to prepare people for careers as teachers.
  Established the trend of education available to all,
  NOT just the rich
• Taxes used to support public schools
• State education departments created to coordinate
  statewide efforts
• Curriculum standardized and schools organized by
  grade levels (versus one-room schools)
• Teacher preparation improved                         9
Land Ordinance –
1785 –Northwest
Ordinance: Thirty-six
sections in a township –
Section (block) no. 16
was the center of the
township and
designated as a site for
a school.

Few educational
interventions were
introduced. Unskilled
workers were needed
for growing industries
including farming.

        1900 to World War II

• John Dewey: A philosopher – founded the
  laboratory school at the University of Chicago.
• Believed that for democracy to work, citizens
  had to be educated to understand and share in
  the duties and responsibilities of society.
• Believed learners needed to master the
  Scientific Problem Solving method
• Recognized individual differences among

The Education of Native
• Mission schools in the 1700s and 1800s, run by
  religious groups, were the first educational attempt
  to assimilate Native Americans.
• Federally funded and run boarding schools
  attempted to “Americanize” Native American
• Currently, most (91%) of Native American
  students attend public schools, but problems
   • Underachievement
   • High dropout rates
   • Low rates of college attendance
Education of African Americans
• Before the Civil War, education participation and
  literacy rates were abysmally low.
• Literacy rates increased dramatically after the
  Civil War, but education efforts were plagued by
  substandard funding and resources.
• Booker T. Washington, who endorsed separate but
  equal, clashed with W.E.B. Dubois, who
  advocated integration and social activism.
• A “separate but equal” policy (Plessy v. Ferguson,
  1896) was supported by federal courts until 1954
  (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka).          13
Education of Hispanic Americans

• Education of Hispanic Americans began in
  the Southwest with Catholic mission
• Early emphasis on Hispanic American
  education was on assimilation.
• Language has been a major controversial
  issue in the education of Hispanic
Education of Asian Americans
• Asian Americans experienced
  discrimination, both in schools and society
  at large.
• Asian Americans are a diverse group of
  students from many different countries and
• In general, Asian American students do well
  in school, excelling in achievement.
The Modern Era: Schools as Instruments
for National Purpose and Social Change
• The Cold War with the Soviet Union during the
  1950s and 1960s focused federal educational
  efforts on math and science.
• President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty
  attempted to use schools to eliminate the
  pervasive poverty in the U.S.
• Compensatory education programs like Title I
  and Head Start attempted to provide enriched
  experiences to the children of poverty.
The Federal Government’s Role
in Pursuing Equality
• The Civil Rights movement, culminating in the
  Civil Rights Act of 1964, attempted to eliminate
  discrimination based on race, color, or national
• Title IX, passed in 1972, attempted to eliminate
  gender bias in schools.
• Segregation, especially in large urban districts,
  continues to be a persistent problem.
• Magnet schools are designed to attract and
  integrate students from diverse social and          17
  cultural backgrounds.
Federal Government Reform
• Federal attempts to reform schools:
   • Setting standards
   • Creating testing programs
   • Offering (or withholding) financial incentives
• Major issues with federal reform efforts:
   • Federal versus state and local control of educational
   • State versus federal control of testing programs
   • Incentive programs that increase the influence of the
     federal government on education

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