Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 27

Historical Foundations

Historical Foundations of Education

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD


1. Identify a value issue or conflict in contemporary education and

examine it from a [selected] philosophical perspective.
2. Examine the concept of change from a [selected] perspective. What
are the educational implications of such a view of change?
3. Examine the impact of [selected] philosophy on education as we know
it today.
4. What impact, if any, has the role of religion in education during the
colonial period through the Civil War had on the role of religion in
schools today?
5. What are some significant changes in curriculum, instruction, and
assessment within the last century?
6. How does the criteria for school success used during colonial times
differ from the criteria used today?
7. Describe the historical, cultural, and philosophical events that
influenced public education in Texas.
8. Analyze the reasons for changes in school organization, programs,
and opportunities in the modern era in relation to historical, political
and sociological events.
9. Describe ways in which the curriculum became more standardized
and more diversified.
10.Identify issues related to educational evaluation in the modern era and
describe the arguments related to those issues.
11.Describe how each of [selected] modern philosophies influences
Western education.
12.Interpret how each of those philosophies might relate to one's own
developing educational philosophy.
Historical Foundations

13.Explain the history, evolution, and current status of three

organizational structures of schooling in the United States.

Key Terms

1. Socrates 16. Francis Bacon

2. Plato 17. John Calvin
3. Idealism 18. Old Deluder Satan Law
4. Realism 19. Dame Schools
5. Thomas Aquinas 20. Town Schools
6. Theistic Realism 21. Latin Grammar Schools
7. Francis Petrach 22. Colonial Colleges
8. Desiderius Erasmus 23. New England Primer
9. Juan Luis Vives 24. Rene Descartes
10.Sir Thomas More 25. John Amos Comenius
11.Edmund Coote 26. Republicanism
12. Northwest Ordinance of 1785 27. Friedrich Froebel
13. Northwest Ordinance of 1787 28. Morrill Act of 1862
14. Nationalism 29. Morrill Act of 1890
15. John Locke 30. John Dewey
31. Benjamin Franklin 45. Pragmatism
32. Thomas Jefferson 46. Maria Montessori
33. Noah Webster 47. Pestalozzi
34. Jean Jacques Rousseau 48. Brown v. Topeka
35. Naturalism 49. Civil Rights Act-1964
36. William McClure 50. Anna Freud
37. Industrial Schools 51. Jean Piaget
38. Monitorial Schools 52. Alfred Adler
39. Robert Owen 53. Erik Erickson
40. The Common School 54. Butler Statute
41. Henry Barnard 55. Engel v. Vitale
42. Horace Mann 56. U.S. National
43. William Torrey Harris Education Goals-1989

44. Kalamazoo Case of 1874 57. Goals 2000

Historical Foundations


In order to fully understand our educational systems, we should be

aware of their evolutionary developments. An historical overview of

education, beginning with early philosphers and moving through the

unfolding of events in America, is provided as a comprehensive review of

Historical Foundations of Education.


In ancient Athens, the social critic Socrates had attracted a circle of

students, one of whom was Plato. Socrates philosophy embraced an ethic

that asserted that human beings should seek to live lives that were morally

excellent. Like Socrates, Plato rejected claims that ethical behavior was

situationally determined and that education could be reduced to specialized

vocational or professional training. He asserted that human beings were

good and honorable when their conduct conformed to the ideal and universal

concepts of truth, goodness, and beauty. In his famous “Allegory of the

Cave’, Plato asserted that the information that comes to us through our

senses was not reality but merely a shadow or an imperfect copy of it. Sense

impressions gave us a reflected, but distorted, view of reality. This

philosophy of Idealism proclaimed the spiritual nature of the human being

and the universe and asserted that the good, true, and beautiful are
Historical Foundations

permanently part of the structure of a related, coherent, orderly, and

unchanging universe.

Unlike Idealists, Realists assert that objects exist regardless of our

perception of them. Realism can be defined as a philosophical position that

asserts the existence of an objective order of reality and the possibility of

human beings gaining knowledge about that reality. It further prescribes

that we should order our behavior in conformity with this knowledge.

Drawing from its Aristotelian origins, it argues that the primary goal of

education is to contribute to the discovery, transmission, and use of

knowledge. Aristotle, a student of Plato, is known as the founder of



The 11th century was a dark era for education. Few people in Western

Europe were receiving any kind of schooling. The knowledge of the ancient

Romans was preserved in cathedrals and monasteries. Culture, which was

centered around the church, began to flourish again as the 1100’s


Across the globe, contributions were being made to the future of

education. In China, printing by movable type was invented in 1045, and

proved to be one of the most powerful inventions of this era. With future
Historical Foundations

educational systems focusing on the written word, the invention of type

printing set the path for future publications. In Salerno Italy, the earliest

Italian medical school opened in 1050.


An enlightened educational policy allows serfs to receive vocational

training. They also receive religious instruction so they can participate in

the church.

Several universities were founded across Europe in the 12th Century. In

1108, Bologna University was founded in Italy. It is known to be the most

ancient in the world. The university was established mainly for the study of

Roman law. In 1150, Paris University was founded in France, and said to be

the greatest university in the Middle Ages. Undergraduate study followed,

but had no prescribed hours or credit units. In 1167, Oxford University in

England was founded.


In the 13th century, Latin was phased out as the language of the

university. For the first time, students were taught in their common


Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225, and is known as a founder of

Theistic Realism. Thomas Aquinas came up with a "triangle of education."

Historical Foundations

The base of the triangle consists of the seven liberal arts; the middle section

is "dialectic" (Plato's style of debate by question and answer, and Aristotle's

reasoning with syllogisms). The top of the triangle is divided into the study

of law and philosophy. Thomistic education rests upon premises that are

found in Artistotelian philosophy and Christian Scriptures. It asserts that

education should aid human beings to merit supernatural life, and that it

should also facilitate every person’s active participation in his or her own

culture and history. Theistic Realism has sought to reconcile faith and

reason, or religion and science, in a comprehensive synthesis.


The Renaissance introduced new ideas and leaders that influenced

education. Francis Petrach was born in 1304. He is known as the first

modern scholar because he focused on classical Greek literature instead of

medieval literature in his search for examples of human perfection. This

interest in classical antiquity is the defining feature of Renaissance artists

and thinkers.

The first paper mill was built in France in 1338. Paper was a Chinese

invention (c. 600 AD), brought to Europe by the Arabs in the 11th century.

There was a gradual shift from use of papyrus to paper, beginning in Spain,

then Italy, then France. The Book of the Knight of La Tour-Landry (1370),
Historical Foundations

was written for the instruction of the nobleman's daughters. Education for

women was otherwise limited to those in religious orders.


Education in the Renaissance was a very selective affair. Women and

the lower classes were still being excluded from education. At the same

time, the first secondary schools appeared in Italy.

Desiderius Erasmus, in 1450, wrote about the need for play and games

in children's schoolwork. He believed it was a teacher's role to encourage

children to think, instead of to display his own learning and have the child

learn it verbatim.

In 1456, the Gutenberg bible was printed. Approximately 40,000

copies were printed between 1450 and 1500. In 1492, the profession of

book publisher emerged.


During the 16th century, women started focusing less on needlepoint,

and more on liberal arts education. In 1529, Juan Luis Vives published his

Instruction for a Christian Woman. Erasmus, and Sir Thomas More played a

key role in introducing the new humanist learning into the great households.

Some of the women of royal and noble families benefited from the humanist

view that girls should receive an education in the liberal arts, as well as in
Historical Foundations

the more usual fields of manners, housekeeping and basic religious


Other pieces of literature published during this time period influenced

schools of thought and general instructional philosophies. The first

complete edition of Aristotle's works published by Erasmus in 1531.

The English Schoole-Maister was published in 1596. This book, by Edmund

Coote, was one of the first about teaching the English language.

In 1597, Francis Bacon published his Essays of Counsels, Civil and Moral.

Topics included parenting, marriage and single life, friendship, and the role

of custom in education.


Europeans settled in various regions, and influenced the creation and

lack of educational systems. French settled from Canada down the

Mississippi River Valley to Louisiana. The Jesuit priests journeyed with the

settlers and educated the Indians and children of the settlers. The defeat of

the French by the British in 1763 brought an end to French dreams of an

empire and their educational efforts also diminished. The Spanish influence

was heaviest in California where a number of missions were established and

the Franciscan priests taught the Indians. The Dutch were influential in New

Amsterdam, which became New York when the British took over. It was
Historical Foundations

the English, however, who had the greatest influence on American


Colonists came to America and set up schools exactly like the ones

they knew in Europe. They were run and supported by the church. The

curriculum was centered on the learning of letters, numbers, and prayers.

The strict learning environment did not allow for crafts nor recess breaks,

and only one out of ten children attended school. There were common

characteristics shared by the 13 colonies: 1) Education was religious; its

major aim was personal salvation; 2) Education was centered on social

class: dual system, 2-tract, or class system. The children of workers should

have minimal primary education in vernacular schools where they learned

the 4 Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion); 3) The well-educated

person would know the classical languages--Latin and Greek; 4) With the

exception of Dame Schools (Kindergarten), education was only for boys;

and 5) Most children in colonial times received their education through

informal means such as the family, the farm, and the shop (where many boys

were apprenticed). The family was the most important social and economic

unit, and frequently the most important source of education as well.

The New England Colonies (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode

Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire) were settled by the intensely-

Historical Foundations

religious Puritans who followed the theology of John Calvin. They believed

that the righteous would be saved and sinners would be damned. Puritans

were supposed to be especially favored by God because they were

hardworking, frugal, law-abiding, obedient to religious and civil authority,

and literate (referred to as the Puritan or Protestant ethic). There was no

separation between Church and State. In fact, church, state, and schools

were closely related and were frequently governed by the same men.

Children were born in sin, and were seen as little savages that needed strong

measures to keep them in line. They were expected to act like adults, and

corporal punishment was frequently used both at home and at school to

control children's behavior.

Schooling was very important as a means of educating children in

religion and obedience to the laws of the colony. As early as 1642, the

Massachusetts General Court required parents and masters of apprentices to

see that their children could read and understand religious principles and

laws of the colony. In 1647, the General Court enacted the Old Deluder

Satan Law which required every township of 50 households to appoint and

pay for an elementary teacher, and every township of 100 households to hire

a Latin (secondary) teacher. These laws of 1642 and 1647 were significant

in that they demonstrated that the colonial government was concerned about
Historical Foundations

the education of its citizens, gave civil authorities some control of the

schools, and indicated that taxation was to be used to support the schools.

There were four types of colonial schools in New England: 1) Dame

Schools were the equivalent of kindergarten. Classes were taught in a lady's

kitchen while she did the chores. Both boys and girls learned the alphabet

and numbers. Girls also learned cooking and sewing and household

domestic duties; 2) Town Schools were the equivalent of elementary school.

They were taught in the vernacular (mother tongue) and offered a basic

curriculum of the 4 R's. Memorization and recitation were common

teaching strategies found in town schools. Materials most commonly used

were the Hornbook and the New England Primer. The teachers were all men

and the students were all boys; 3) Latin grammar schools were secondary

schools whose curriculum was mainly Latin and Greek grammar. A few

boys who would go to Harvard attended them. The first Latin grammar

school was established in Boston in 1635. Boston helped support the school

with the income from a land sale, marking the beginning of public education

in America; and 4) Colonial colleges prepared young men for the ministry

and government service. In 1636, Massachusetts founded Harvard College,

the first institution of higher learning in the colonies. The college had an

average enrollment of about 20 male students.

Historical Foundations

The Southern Colonies (Maryland, Virginia, Georgia and the

Carolinas) were made up of settlers who considered themselves descendants

of the Cavaliers, the English aristocrats who had supported the Stuart Kings

against Cromwell. These landed gentry, unlike the Puritans, did not come to

the colonies because they were persecuted. They came for economic

reasons--to improve their family fortunes.

Southern Colonists established the plantation system and a

hierarchical social system. Plantation owners hired tutors to teach their sons

and daughters. However, the children of poor rarely had any opportunity for

formal education. Some were able to attend schools run by the SPG

(Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) for paupers. Many were

apprenticed. Generally, however, Southern colonies left the responsibility of

education to parents and churches.

The Middle Atlantic Colonies (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,

and Delaware) had a great diversity of settlers with no common language,

religion, or cultural heritage. Many parochial (denominational) schools were

established, while private venture schools prepared students for commercial


In 1637, French philosopher René Descartes proposed mathematics as

the perfect model for reasoning and invented analytic geometry. In 1658,
Historical Foundations

John Amos Comenius published the first-ever children's picture book, Orbis

Pictus (The World Illustrated). The book became a best seller in every major

European language. Comenius was a kind teacher, who thought that children

were born with a natural goodness and craving for knowledge. He is now

known by many as the father of modern education.


Schools in the colonies began to teach more practical subjects, like

bookkeeping, navigation, and algebra. After the Revolutionary war and

toward the end of the century, church control over schools declined in the

U.S. and in most other western countries.

Between 1776 and 1830, a number of new trends and patterns

emerged in American education. Education became a state responsibility:

the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1788, did not mention education;

consequently, the states became responsible. However, the federal

government showed an interest in the development of state educational

systems by passing the Northwest Ordinances of 1785 and 1787. The

Ordinance of 1785 required each territory to set aside the income from the

16th section of each township for the support of education (a township was 6

square miles, subdivided into 36 sections). The Ordinance of 1787 included

a statement of the federal governments philosophy of education, saying that

Historical Foundations

it was "necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind."

Education for citizenship became more important than education for

personal salvation. Men like Franklin, Webster, and Jefferson, realized that

for the new Republic to survive, the citizens had to have an education in

order to become intelligent voters. The concepts of republicanism, science,

and nationalism became key elements in American education:

1) Republicanism: John Locke’s assertion that government arises from the

consent of the governed. Education for republican citizenship implied

imparting those skill, knowledge, and attitudes that would help the new

republic endure and flourish.

2) Science: An Enlightenment concept based on the belief that individuals

could discover the laws of the universe. The scientific outlook called for

experimentation and reexamination of accepted beliefs.

3) Nationalism: This concept stressed a sense of American identity and


There were many important contributors to educational thought during

the 18th century. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), was the founder of the

American Philosophical Society. His Poor Richard's Almanac emphasized

values such as frugality, hard work, and inventiveness. In 1731, he founded

the first public library in America, and chartered it as the Philadelphia

Historical Foundations

Library in 1742. Franklin advocated a utilitarian and scientific education,

and founded the Philadelphia Academy in 1749. This was significant

because it presented an alternative to the Latin Grammar School and

anticipated the rise of academies and high schools. The school offered a

religion-based curriculum, like its Latin School counterpart, but it also

taught courses that applied to everyday life, such as history, merchant

accounts, algebra, surveying, modern languages, and navigation. In 1779,

the academy became the University of Pennsylvania.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), was president of the American

Philosophical Association. He was also author of the "Bill for the More

General Diffusion of Knowledge," 1779 which was based on the following

assumptions: a) Schools should produce a literate citizenry; b) State was

responsible for providing schools; c) Schools should be secular rather than

religious; and d) Schools should identify the academically talented

Noah Webster (1758-1843) was an important influence on the

development of American English and American culture. He wrote the

American Spelling Book, also known as the blue-back speller, which

simplified and standardized the language, and imparted "American" values.

He also wrote the American Dictionary, which we know as Webster's.

Interest in state control of education was on the rise. An ordinance

Historical Foundations

passed in 1785, declaring that the income gained from the sale of the land at

the center of each township was to be used for public elementary schools.

In 1787, another ordinance confirmed this land policy, insuring the

establishment of elementary schools in the Northwest Territory. It set a new

standard of federal aid to education.

In France, Jean Jacques Rousseau was publishing literary works

reflecting his school of thought, Naturalism. Central to his political and

educational philosophy was his belief that human character should be

formed according to nature. In Emile, Rousseau’s didactic novel, a boy, in

experiencing a natural education, has his character develop naturally, in a

country estate, away from corrupting social institutions and conventions. In

the novel, he identified stages of human growth and development, and

organized education according to Emile’s stages of development. According

to Rousseau, the child is a noble savage, a primitive unspoiled by the nices

of a corrupting society. The child’s needs, instincts and impulses are to be

trusted and relied upon as the raw ingredients of further education. When

these impulses are acted upon, they lead to sensory experience that provide a

direct relationship with the environment—thus, leading to clear ideas and

Historical Foundations


The industrial revolution took hold, changing both the U.S. economy

and its educational system. Public schools, kindergarten, and teacher training

were all introduced in this century.

American society changed from a rural-agricultural society to an

urban-industrial society, which required workers with at least basic literacy

skills. Educational responses to this need included: 1) Industrial schools

based on the ideas of William Maclure (1763-1840) which taught basic

science and its industrial and agricultural applications. He supported

Pestalozzian methods, and believed that schools should be used to bring

about social change (philosophy of Social Reconstructionism);

2) Monitorial schools based on the ideas of Joseph Lancaster (Lancasterian

Schools) who claimed it was possible to educate large numbers of children

effectively and cheaply. Essentially, a master teacher would train aids or

monitors who, in turn, would teach the other students; 3) Sunday schools:

Children who worked 6-day weeks in the factories were taught the basics of

reading, writing, and religion on Sundays; 4) Infant schools were a prototype

of the modern day-care center, devised by Scottish industrialist, Robert

Owen, for the young mothers who worked in his factories.

Historical Foundations

These efforts were not sufficient to meet the needs of American

society. Consequently, the Common School, the forerunner of the American

public school came into existence between 1830 and 1850. The Common

School idea grew out of New England's locally controlled schools.

Supporters of the common school included political and educational

reformers like Horace Mann, James Carter, Thaddeus Stevens, Henry

Barnard, and Wm. T. Harris. These men were believers in the Jeffersonian

ideal in education (the concept that the republic could not survive and thrive

without an educated citizenry); advocates of public education as a means of

social and economic advancement for their children; and nationalists who

wanted the schools to cultivate common values, loyalties, and a sense of

Americanness in children from different ethnic backgrounds.

Opponents of the common school included owners of factories, mines,

and plantations who did not want to lose cheap child labor; pluralistic groups

who wanted their children taught in their own language, religion, and

traditions; and those who did not want to raise taxes (legislators), as well as

those who did not want to pay taxes for the support of education.

The common school included grades 1-8, eventually each in its own

classroom with its own teacher. It was free, because it was supported by

taxes. Eventually, the common school was compulsory, universal, non-

Historical Foundations

sectarian, and staffed by trained teachers. The movement was first

successful in the New England states, with Massachusetts leading the way.

The Middle Atlantic states were slower, with Lancasterianism holding on.

The Southern states did not have public school systems until after the Civil


After 1850, the common school was found in 2 major versions: the

urban public school found in large cities like Boston and New York, and the

country school, commonly referred to as the "one-room school house." The

locally-elected school boards established and ran virtually every aspect of

the school. One simply-furnished room held all the children in the school

district, each working at his or her own level (ungraded) with one teacher in

charge. Both males and females, with varying degrees of professional

education were teachers. The standard curriculum included the 3 Rs,

Spelling and perhaps history, geography, or elocution (public speaking). The

standard methods were memorization and recitation.

Henry Barnard (1811-1900) was one of the founders of the common

school movement, along with Horace Mann. He worked both in Connecticut

and Rhode Island to establish a public school system, and then went on to

head the University of Wisconsin and to serve as the first U.S.

Commissioner of Education (1867-1870). He edited 2 of the first journals

Historical Foundations

related to education-The Connecticut Common School Journal and the

American Journal of Education. He proposed that the common school teach

the basic skill, civic values, the principles of health and diet, and careful

observation and reflection (thinking skills). He supported the establishment

of normal schools for teacher education and higher pay for teachers.

William Torrey Harris (1835-1909) was a major educational leader

after the Civil War as superintendent of schools in St. Louis, and then as

U.S. Commissioner of Education (1889-1906). He advocated that schools

transmit the cultural heritage to the young through a carefully designed

curriculum, stressing such values as self-discipline, obedience, respect for

property, and good citizenship. Under Harris, St. Louis established the first

successful public kindergarten program in 1873.

In the early 19th century, the colonial Latin grammar school declined

and was largely replaced by the academy, a private secondary institution that

taught more varied and practical courses. After the Kalamazoo case of 1874,

in which the Supreme Court of Michigan ruled that school districts could

support high schools with taxes, high schools became more and more

popular (because they were free and because they trained students for jobs in

an increasingly industrial society). High schools evolved from one-track

academic institutions to comprehensive schools in the early 20th century.

Historical Foundations

In 1821, Boston opens the nation's first public high school, and in

1827, Massachusetts passes a law that requires towns of 500 families or

more to establish high schools. Other states soon followed. By mid-century,

public high schools absorbed their Latin grammar school predecessors.

Towns begin to establish separate secondary schools for girls.

The first state board of education is established in Massachusetts in

1837, and Horace Mann is its first secretary. In 1839, Horace Mann begins

the nation's first teacher-training school in Massachusetts. Friedrich

Froebel founds the first kindergarten in Blakenburg, Germany. It uses

stories, play, crafts, and songs to stimulate children's imaginations and help

develop motor skills (Our nation's first public kindergarten opens in St.

Louis later in 1873).

By 1850, the Industrial Revolution is in full swing. One-room schools

in urban areas are on the decline as new schools begin to follow the

assembly-line model, where students move from class to class, teacher to


Massachusetts passes the first compulsory school-attendance law in

the U.S. in 1852. By 1918, every state has a similar law. In 1862, Congress

passes the Morrill Act, or "Land Grant" Act, which gives vast areas of

federal land to states. It requires them to sell the land and use the money to
Historical Foundations

establish agricultural and technical colleges. In 1874, A Michigan Supreme

Court decision rules that local governments can use tax money to support

elementary and secondary schools. Congress passes the second Morrill Act

in 1890, which withholds grants from states that deny admission to land

grant schools based on race. A state can still receive money if it establishes a

separate school for blacks, as many Southern states do.


The civil rights movement and technology change the face of the 20th

century classroom. In the 1950s, the U.S. Supreme Court bans segregation in

public schools. In the 1990s, schools "log on" and computers invade the


Changes in educational philosophy and curriculum came about in this

era as well. In 1901, John Dewey wrote The Child and the Curriculum, and

later Democracy and Education, in which he shows concern for the

relationship between society and education. Dewey was a philosopher,

psychologist, and educator. His philosophy of education focused on learning

by doing rather than rote memorization. He criticized education that

emphasizes amusing and keeping students busy. From Dewey’s educational

philosophy came the emphasis on experience, activity, and problem-solving

that helped to reshape our thinking about education and schooling.

Historical Foundations

Progressive education, which was part of a larger Progressive Movement in

U.S. history from about 1900-1920, was an antidote to traditional,

conservative education. It was based on John Dewey’s philosophy of

pragmatism and his work at the Laboratory School at the University of

Chicago. (Earlier progressive educators include Europeans such as

Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Montessori). Rather than stressing the

old strategies of memorization and recitation, progressive educators

advocated: problem-solving skills, learning through sense perception

(learning by doing or hands-on learning), using a child's interests as the basis

for developing a curriculum, self-discipline, and flexible methods (small

group learning, independent research, field trips, etc.).

Racial integration and school desegregation was another major event

in American education in the 20th century. It all began with Brown v. Board

of Education of Topeka in 1954 in which the Supreme Court unanimously

struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine in American education. This

was followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which protected voting rights,

and guaranteed civil rights in employment and education. In education, the

law empowered the federal government to file desegregation suits and to

withhold federal funds from districts that practiced discrimination in federal

Historical Foundations

Maria Montessori opened her first school in 1907. Maria Montessori

was credited with developing a classroom without walls, manipulative

learning materials, teaching toys, and programmed instruction. Many

considered her to be the 20th century's leading advocate for early childhood

education. Anna Freud, Jean Piaget, Alfred Adler, and Erik Erikson studied

under Montessori and made their own contributions to education and child


Educational policies and mandates make their presence in public

schools. School attendance becomes compulsory in every U.S. state in

1918, and in 1921, foreign language becomes part of the U.S. curriculum.

"Superior" children in Cleveland's elementary schools study French.

The debate between evolution and creation peaks with the Scopes Monkey

Trial in 1925. John Scopes, a high-school science teacher in Dayton,

Tennessee, is tried for teaching the theory of evolution. This is illegal under

the Butler Statute, which states that any theory that denies creationism can't

be taught in publicly funded schools. Scopes is convicted and fined $100.

His conviction is later overturned on a technicality.

The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite

in 1957. Fearing that the Soviets will surpass the U.S. in science and
Historical Foundations

technology, many schools adopt a more rigorous curriculum-based


In court rulings of Engel v. Vitale in 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court

finds that the state does not have the right to enforce prayer in public

schools. Proposition 13 is passed in California (Proposition 2-1/2 in

Massachusetts) in the 1970’s. This freezes property taxes, a major source of

funding for public schools. California drops from first in the nation in per-

student spending in 1978 to number 43 in 1998.

In 1989, U.S. governors create the National Education Goals, which

focus on increased standards, teaching salaries, graduation requirements, and

state assessment. The Clinton administration later recasts these as Goals

2000, calling for a restructuring to focus on results over process and

regulation. Proposition 187 passes in California in 1994, making it illegal

for the children of undocumented immigrants to attend public school.

Federal courts later hold Proposition 187 to be unconstitutional. In 1996, the

same state, California, passes Proposition 209, outlawing affirmative action

in public education. In 1998, bilingual education is outlawed in California.

By the end of the millennium, nearly eight of every ten public schools

in the nation have access to the Internet, more than double the proportion in

1994. There is debate on best-suited software, and hardware organization in

Historical Foundations

educational settings. However, state and federal funds are allocated for the

support and integration of technology into the curriculum.


History of Public Education in Texas

History of Education Timeline
Colonial Web
Links to the World of John Dewey
Center for Dewey Studies
John Dewey
Maria Montessori
Philosophers and Education

Test your knowledge with online practice quizzes:

Foundations of Education, Chapters 2-5
Historical Foundations


Gutek, Gerald. (1988). Philosphical and Ideological Perspectives in

Education. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Gutek, Gerald. (1992). Education and schooling in America (3rd ed.).

Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

McNergney, Robert F. and Herbert, Joanne M. (2001). Foundations

of Education: The Challenge of Professional Practice (3rd ed.). Boston:
Allyn & Bacon.