The idea of the culture wars is introduced here, and these culture wars begin to illustrate just how our continued dependence on the dominant Protestant Anglo-American culture has formed and influenced America’s schools throughout out history. The chapter also introduces the concepts of racism and democracy, and demonstrates how these two opposite ideals often live together in our culture. The “culture wars” grew over the whites perceived “superiority” over other cultures in our country, and eventually, the dominant culture in America became the Protestant Anglo-American culture, and this dominance continues today.
The concept of education in colonial times is discussed in this chapter, along with early education’s relationship to religion in the schools. It also shows the differing attitudes people of the times had about children, and how the idea that schools and educational theories could influence national thought was first introduced. The chapter also discusses the social implications of education, and some of the theories behind early grammar schools through universities. Ultimately, these early ideas led to public education for everyone, and continued the dominance of the Protestant Anglo-American culture that has continued throughout the history of education.
Chapter 3: The Native American educational experience is discussed here, along with the implications of the “dangerous” Ghost Dance in Native American society. The racist tendencies of our educational system are also discussed, as the Anglo-American culture decides Native American’s educational policies that benefit the Anglos, rather than the Natives. The vast differences between Native American and American cultures are discussed and mapped out, showing how Americans tried to assimilate other cultures into our “superior” Anglo-American culture. It also shows how the Native Americans have struggled to hold on to their culture, and how much they have lost in the way of lifestyle, language, and customs.
Chapter 4: Here, education following the Revolutionary War is discussed. The main focus on education at this time was continuing the dominant Anglo-American culture, and unifying it across the growing nation, which left little room for any other culture to flourish. The chapter also looks at the study of behaviors, the Enlightenment in Europe, and the psychology of the teaching staff, and how these elements helped shape early education in America. Patriotism for the new country was paramount in education during this time, and different types of schools developed, including the Lancasterian model and Charity schools, and some of the great Eastern universities really began to develop and grow.
Chapter 5: This chapter focuses on the Common School Movement that swept America, and how this movement continued to promote the ideals of republicanism, Protestantism, and capitalism, and the Anglo-American culture that continued to dominate the classroom and the country. The chapter also looks at how early Americans saw the threat of cultural pluralism and how it related to educational approaches in the schools for the children of slaves, Irish immigrants, freedmen and women, and Native Americans. The chapter also shows how these minorities struggled against the predominant Anglo-American theologies that were taught, and how the first private Catholic Schools evolved as a response to the anti-Catholic sentiment in the Anglo schools, and how the Native American schools contributed to the disbanding of the Natives’ cultures and ideals.
Chapter 6: The Common School’s goals and purposes are discussed here, along with the intrinsic problems that plagued the Common Schools, including an inability to agree on the common political and moral values that would be taught, and the inability of the schools to decrease general social, political, and economic unrest in the nation. Clearly, the Common Schools had served a purpose, but had effectively outlived their usefulness and effectiveness.
Chapter 7: This chapter shows how women became the predominant educators in the 19th century, and how this influenced the educational process. It also shows how the male as superintendent with females below in the classroom form of bureaucracy began to be prevalent in the nation’s school systems, and how the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the factor began to influence the education available to Americans. It also discusses Horace Mann’s many influences on American education, and the growth of teacher institutes and normal schools as women’s presence in the profession continued to grow.
Chapter 8: This chapter continues the theme of racism in education, specifically as it applied to Asian-Americans and Native Americans. The chapter also shows how the goals of American education were to deculturalize and Americanize anyone who came to live in this country, or anyone who was not white Protestant Anglo-Saxon. It shows how racism was rampant in the schools, and how the author maintains that deculturalization is really “cultural genocide.” It also discusses many exclusion laws enacted in the 19th century, and how these affected Americans’ attitudes toward minorities in their midst.
Chapter 9: Here, the educational experiences of Hispanics and Latino-Americans are discussed, along with their own deculturalization and educational experiences. It also shows how Americans have used education as a way to socially control minorities, especially by denying minorities the right to an education, or making sure they become patriotic Americans by denying their own culture and acculturating them into the American culture. Again, this chapter illustrates how minorities in America have been forced to give up their own culture, language, and ideals to assimilate into the Anglo-American “superior” culture.
Chapter 10: This chapter discusses segregation in the American school system, especially as it relates to African-Americans, and how African-American children were exploited throughout their educational experiences. It also talks about the Civil Rights laws and how they have ultimately affected the right to an education, and basic citizenship rights in our country. It also discusses the “separate but equal” ruling in “Plessy vs. Ferguson” in 1896, and how the early African-Americans’ educational experience led to feelings of inadequacy, menial jobs, and general illiteracy. The chapter also discusses resistance to educating African-Americans in the South, and the struggle African-Americans fought for years for a decent educational experience that was indeed equal to the Anglo-American educational experience. It also discusses the educational importance of such Black Americans as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, and the creation of the first African-American educational institutions.
Chapter 11: This chapter shows how schools have evolved into more than simply educational institutions, they function as social agencies as well. It also covers the modern school’s influence on adults and the community itself, and how the structure of schools has evolved due to the influences of scientific thought. Modern schools function as much more than classrooms. Modern schools have playgrounds for athletic prowess, kindergartens to introduce children to the idea of education, nurses, auditoriums that can be used by the community in general, and gymnasiums. Schools were more than just a place for education, they played a social and evolving role in the community, but they also continued the all-important role of deculturalizing the new immigrants, and how the classroom evolved into a very ordered and controlled environment, hardly open to change or free spirit. During the 19th century, the first lesson plans were also adopted, and soon they came into wide use.
Chapter 12: This chapter shows how education naturally evolved into a need for continued, or high school, education, and shows how schools were attempting to teach social efficiency and human capital issues. It also shows how different curriculums evolved in different schools, and how these curriculums helped reinforce class and vocational differences, in fact, students were evaluated and placed in specific “academic tracks” that would prepare them for their future. It also shows how junior and senior high schools developed, and how extracurricular clubs and organizations began to expand. It also discusses many educational experts reactions to the changes in the public school experience, and how some viewed them as a benefit to the public, while others viewed them as another example of “corporate greed” moving into the educational system.
Chapter 13: This chapter discusses and defines meritocracy, which is the idea that individual merit is more important than economic or political merit, and that individual merit ultimately determines the social and vocational place we occupy in society. The chapter also shows how the structure of schools became more standardized, and the scientific education method had mounting influence on the school curriculum. The chapter also shows how teacher training changed from the two-year normal school philosophy to the four-year college of education philosophy, and what an impact this change in preparation had on teachers and their experiences. In addition, it illustrates how this change in teacher training ultimately influenced the educational practices and policies in America. The chapter shows how school boards and management gradually began to transform, and how more scientific methods for instruction were adopted.
Chapter 14: This chapter illustrates how the Great Depression influenced education in America, and how the federal government began to get increasingly involved in the educational process. It also discusses the development of teachers’ unions, and shows how the media began to become an increasing influence on children and their education. It…