Historical Foundations of Education in America
This week we will learn about the evolution of the American educational system. Through reading the powerpoints outlining the historical events that have shaped policies and perspectives for meeting the needs of our growing count, you will gain a deeper understanding of the foundations of American education.
In this article, education historian critiques the American pedagogical leaders for mistaking “fads” in teaching and learning as progress. This article is organized as a chronology of the evolution of the different trends or ways of thinking or philosophies. Ravitch uses the metaphor of a train to represent the new pedagogical methods that educators, policy makers and leaders are ” jumping” on “lest they appear to be old-fashioned or traditional, these terms being the worst sort of opprobrium that can be hurled at any educator”. p. 1
As you read this very informative article you will recognize the philosophies of education that you have studied last week. Make note of the examples she gives for the philosophies you can identify.
Do you think the philosophy that represents Ravitch’s beliefs is described in the last page of her article? What philosophy is that and how does she support her position?
Reading for question 2
1. Read this New York Times editorial written by David Brooks. Connect the different theories of education we have studied in this Module – Perennialism, Essentialism, Progressivism and Social Reconstructionism/Critical Theory – to the different philosophies he has mentioned in his editorial.
2. Next read the series of Letters to Editor below and determine which philosophy of education the writer represents.
This link contains the letters that were written to the editors of the New York Times by readers who have read the same David Brook’s opinion piece entitled ” A Response of Pure Reason” that you have just read in the link above
1-Read each of these letters to the editor and think about the philosophy of education you believe is represented in the opinions stated in each letter.
2- Identify a letter to the editor that you believe expresses the same view you hold about the issue.
3. Write your own letter to the editor in response to the opinion piece “A Response of Pure Reason” and reference the name of the writer of the letter you are in agreement as you build upon their argument by adding your views on the topic.
4. Review the letters to the editor written by your fellow classmates example and select a letter posted by a classmate who holds a different view and post a response.
5. Include the names of the philosophies represented in both views in your discussion.
Student 1 example –
To the Editor:
David Brooks brought up an extremely important topic that can affect the future of the country, that is the future of education. Our current education system was built up based on industry resolution, when skilled workers were needed for companies and factors. It served the purpose of providing a great deal of work force to infuse the economy. Two hundred years later, when the country has changed from industry to high technology and humanity economy basis, the revolution of the education system has become inevitable.
Among all the letters that respond to Brooks’ article, I am in agreement with the letter from Alecia Stevens the most. Because her educational philosophy is progressivism, which is being promoted by many education pioneers. A great example is Summit Charter schools principle Diane Tavenner. She set up nontraditional schools where curriculums are designed based on projects. Students become the initial to ask high order thinking questions and research for answers themselves.
It is an effective education model, because it provides students with the chance to be the owner of their study journey. They will build up confidence on topics of their interest and concern, eventually feel the sense of accomplishment. In return, the confidence they gain from school will nurture their personality, in order to deal with the hardship they are experiencing in life.
For more information on Historical Foundations Of Education In America read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_the_United_States
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