Between 1895 and 1920, a cohort of business, philanthropic, and academic leaders wielding tremendous wealth and power sought to reshape the form and function of American higher education. Their efforts were largely unsuccessful, but studying them helps us understand the recurrent impulse to reform America’s colleges and universities.
This article explores how the “neighborhood unit,” a school-centered planning concept popularized during the early twentieth century became an important mechanism for promoting racially segregated housing and schools.
This historical analysis examines the parenting experiences of John Dewey and his wife Alice as they raised their son, Sabino, an adopted child with a physical disability. The paper illuminates the medical and political challenges confronted by the family and concludes with an initial exploration of how this experience might have influenced Dewey’s political thought and action.
In this essay, the authors review the extensive literature on the Dewey School to argue that most accounts of the school relate at least one of three historiographical myths: the Dewey School as misunderstood; the Dewey School as triumph; and/or the Dewey School as tragedy.
This chapter details how slavery, segregation, and racism impacted the educational experiences of African Americans from the colonial era to the present. It argues that America has yet to be a truly post-slavery and post-segregation society, let alone a post-racial society.
Comprehensive, multi-year mass fundraising campaigns in American higher education began with the Harvard Endowment Fund (HEF) drive, which extended from 1915 to 1925. Based on the first thorough study of the archival records, this essay reveals that the campaign established novel features of university fundraising through contentious negotiations among conflicting groups, prompted the university administration to centralize and control alumni affairs and development efforts for the first time, and, above all, introduced today’s ubiquitous episodic pattern of continuous fundraising, in which mass comprehensive campaigns alternate with discrete solicitations of wealthy donors, whose dominant roles have never changed.
This article examines the Westinghouse Science Talent Search over its first sixteen years. Although the contest’s organizers emphasized its meritocratic quality, the selection process that it employed systematically discriminated against certain students. Ultimately, the Science Talent Search reflected social and cultural forces that shaped the science professions, and may have represented a lost opportunity to make scientific training more meritocratic.
This chapter contrasts the aims of progressive and traditional state-mandated schooling, and argues that the former represents a new form in the history of Western education, oriented to individual, social and moral reconstruction rather than reproduction, and guided by the evolutionary possibilities inherent in human neoteny. The school is identified as a key site for the reconstruction of civic virtue in its role as a “just community” or embryonic society grounded in the principles and practices of participatory democracy.
This article examines the efforts of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation to have Black history taught in White southern schools from 1928 to 1943. The author raises questions about teachers’ activism and the impact of curriculum on shaping teachers’ and students’ attitudes and beliefs.
This article examines the terms “culturally deprived” and “disadvantaged” in light of their popular use in the sixties and following decades, particularly in the ethnic and mainstream press.
This biographical study of Dr. George I. Sánchez, a leading Mexican American educator, intellectual, and activist from the 1930s through the 1960s, opens up the idea of compensatory education—the prevalent notion of the 1960s that schools use specialized instructional programs to combat the alleged cultural deprivation of some children, particularly minorities—to a wider focus.
This article is a case study of compensatory education as it was developed and implemented by an innovative urban school principal in the early 1960s.
In this article, Edward Zigler, interviewed by Barbara Beatty, talks about a turning point in the history of Head Start that reveals how policy choices, bureaucracy, and science came together when he was told to phase out the program in 1970.
The author focuses on the role of preschool intervention and developmental psychology researchers in defining the concept of the “disadvantaged child” and in designing and evaluating remedies to alleviate educational “disadvantages” in young children.
A commentary on the special issue.
This article appreciates and critiques the contributions to the special issue of the TCR on compensatory education. I argue that compensatory education neglected desegregation as a legitimate policy option and that these articles do not counter than neglect.
A commentary on the special issue.
This article explores the ways American conservatives have sought to revise the history of American education to bolster their vision of what education should be. The historical vision of four postwar activists—Milton Friedman, Max Rafferty, Sam Blumenfeld, and Henry Morris—is examined in detail.
This article examines the American Montessori movement from its failed introduction in the United States in 1911, to its rebirth in 1960, to its current resurgence as a time-tested alternative to traditional public schooling. Montessori pedagogy is situated in an international context, exploring both the manner by which an essentially twentieth-century European import was transformed into a predominantly twenty-first-century American export and the impact of a continually changing American educational landscape on the movement.
This article analyzes the policies and rhetoric surrounding the use of German-language instruction before and during the World War I era, highlighting contemporary implications for the education of minority language speakers.
This article elucidates an intellectual trend in the historical and contemporary scholarship on Black schooling. Led primarily, but not exclusively, by African American scholars, this trend offered a counternarrative to the representation of predominantly Black schools before and after the passage of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and noted the significant role of Black schools for African American people. The paper situates this counternarrative within a chronological context, which provides the reader with a sequential understanding of how this body of research began to offer a different view of Black schools.
This article focuses on the public and Catholic school discourse that accompanied the introduction of IQ testing in the early 20th century. It analyzes the nature of the discourse among educational researchers, administrators, and teachers in two parallel educational settings and examines the way that public and Catholic school educators responded to IQ testing.
This essay tells the forgotten story of the founding of essentialism. After a brief biographical description of the career of William Bagley, the paper describes in detail how essentialism came to be and why it matters. Then, the work connects the principles of essentialism to contemporary debates in teaching, teacher education, and curriculum.
“The significance of this new movement is large,” wrote Ellwood P. Cubberley in 1916, praising the growth of scientific measurement in education, “for it means nothing less than the ultimate changing of school administration from guesswork to scientific accuracy; the elimination of favoritism and politics completely from the work; . . . the substitution of professional experts for the old and successful practitioners; and the changing of school supervision from a temporary or a political job, for which little or no technical preparation need be made, to that of a highly skilled piece of professional social engineering” (pp. 325–326). As dean of the Stanford University School of Education, Cubberley was supremely confident, as were many of his contemporaries, that the empirical study of education would uncover timeless educational truths, yield new instructional and administrative practices, and permanently unite educators around a common vision of policymaking.
This article discusses the career of Mabel Carney, head of the Department of Rural Education at Teachers College from 1918 to 1941.
In this article, I use perspectives gained from 18 years of experience as an urban public school parent between 1978 and 1996 to provide insights into Brown at 50.
This paper explores the twisting and complicated history of school desegregation in Kansas City, Missouri, as an example of how illusive meaningful racial integration was and still is in urban America.
This article examines the origins of the National Parent-Teacher Association and questions its current image as a white, middle-class women’s association.
This paper presents detailed accounts and analyzes the practice of the preparation of teachers in a progressive program during the 1930’s in New York, at Bank Street College of Education. Mostly, these accounts are grounded in the participants’ perspectives, providing data about how this progressive teacher education program was experienced, and in particular on Lucy Sprague Mitchell’s teaching based on data especially composed to describe two courses: (1)"Environment" (a mix of what today can be called social foundations and social studies methods), and (2)"Language" (mostly, about the writing process). Also, data from other course syllabi taught by other faculty is discussed.
This paper compares the problem of social maladjustment addressed during the child guidance movement of the 1920s and 1930s with the issue of minority overrepresentation revealed in the late 1960s and persisting to the present.