The assortment of volumes, chapters, and chapter fragments of NSSE offers an amazing range of issues, treatments, and opinions about reading and reading instruction. Some of these continue to speak imaginatively to issues prominent today and merit republication; others served their time well but have been superseded or outdated. And others are best left in the musty obscurity of university archives and the occasional used book store. From another perspective, however, these materials can be read as primary source materials for the history of the NSSE, its selection processes, and the people who dominated the reading committees for almost half of the NSSE’s existence. This is a more difficult story to compose, given the limited form of evidence, but it is an important one for helping the NSSE select a viable future. This chapter is an attempt to present both of these perspectives, based upon an analysis of the NSSE treatment of reading, from Volume 1 in 1902 until Volume 99, issued at the beginning of the year 2000.
A discussion with Diane Ravitch on her book Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform
The author considers citizen action as an explanation for the decline of the traditional curriculum and the rise of a more practical differentiated curriculum in U.S. schools during the first half of the twentieth century.
This article follows the rise of the visiting teacher movement and considers the lessons for current efforts to develop school-linked social services.
In this chapter I will explore the historical relationship between
research into character education and the development of theory and
practice in the field. I will also discuss the implications of prior
research programs for the future of theory, research, and practice in
the current character education movement.
This article presents Macaulay’s views as expressed in her noteworthy work Letters on Education, printed originally in 1787 and in revised form in 1790.
As far as we can determine in the absence of scientific
public opinion polls for most of American history, a clear majority
of Americans have associated technology with progress. Equally
important, those Americans have usually equated technological
progress with social progress. It is therefore reasonable to outline here
what I call the American ideology of technological progress and then
to suggest how it is changing as that historic technological optimism
fades. The relevance of this change to education in America will be
addressed in the final pages of the chapter.
The phenomenal growth of the use of the Taxonomy can only be
explained by the fact that it filled a void; it met a previously unmet
need for basic, fundamental planning in education. For the first time,
educators were able to evaluate the learning of students systematically.
The excerpts included in this
chapter are taken primarily from the first part, with the exception of the bulk
of the material included in the section we call "Translating Plan into Action:
Filling in the Details."
this essay I will look at three such reform efforts: the "boy problem,"
identified in the Progressive era when critics charged the schools with
being too "female"; a concurrent discussion of the "woman question,"
when critics worried that women were not being adequately prepared
for their adult vocations of wife and mother; and the critique of
coeducation in the 1960s and 1970s, when feminists argued that the
curriculum and training of girls was intentionally or inadvertently
Of all the forces that have affected American education, perhaps
the most immediate and enduring has been the drive towards universal
mass education). The rise of the common school movement in the
nineteenth century and the rapid growth of the secondary school in
the twentieth created enormous pressures to expand and diversify the
curriculum to meet the needs of an increasingly heterogeneous student
body. It was during these periodic phases of expansion that the arts
were introduced into the public school curriculum.
The image of the teacher—be he or she called "teacher,"
"educator," or simply "we"—in John Dewey's texts emerges from a
convergence of the writer's lived experience and intellectual history.
Behind each rendering lies a memory, perhaps a story of his
Burlington childhood and youth.
Whether we attribute the origins of the idea of the love of
knowledge being its own reward to Aristotle or to Plato and
Pythagoras, the fact must be that all education, including general
education, is by definition practical. How it is practical is the operative
question. Is it broadly or narrowly useful, general preparation for life
in the world or for a specific career? Even this polarity hardly exhausts
the possibilities of utility. General preparation for life presupposes
some kind of life, some kind of social role, and the word "career"
covers occupations as diverse as soothsaying to the writing of
software manuals. Furthermore, some occupations require more
general preparation than others; some demand only rudimentary
This article reviews positions of scientists, educators and publicists who resisted eugenics and determinism. The nature nurture controversy is discussed, as well as the impact of eugenics on American classrooms. Specific attention is given to four resisters: Dewey, Bagley, Jennings, and Lippmann.
This book is about the critical issues facing curriculum workers. It
is about problems that are surrounded by intensity of feeling, such as
the influence of testing on the curriculum and the censorship of
textbooks; it is about problems that are widely recognized and on
which there is a great abundance of material. (The dropout problem,
which is now receiving a great deal of attention from the lay public
and professional educators, is an obvious example.) It is also about
problems that are not so well known but are, nonetheless, deeply felt
by educators, and we are just beginning to define the nature of some
of the less well-known problems.
Over a period of several years two main traditions have dominated
the way in which American education has been seen and interpreted.
The older tradition has been to focus on the story of how American
education expanded from elitist traditions, borrowed largely from
Europe, to encompass the great mass of children and youth in the
United States. American education, from this perspective, is the story
of a gradual transformation from a selective and class-biased system to
one much more in harmony with popular American democracy. In
general, the data for this story are drawn from the ever-increasing
numbers of students who were entering the schoolhouse doors. It is, in
one sense, a very dramatic story, the story of an experiment in mass
public education extending at least to secondary schools—an experiment
that many people would insist is still under way and where the
results are still inconclusive.
The case of Faith Christian School is only one of a number of recent legislative and judicial battles over the issue of state control of private education. The case is discussed in detail and then the fundamental issues it raises are considered.
School responses to Black migrant youth
A review is presented of the differences between Matthew Arnold's and Thomas Huxley's views on liberal education.
The fact that most elementary school teachers are female provides a key to understanding why there are often attempts by state bureaucrats, industry, and academics to control the curricular and teaching practices in classrooms. It also explains why these externally derived controls are often transformed by teachers once they are in their classrooms.
"Humanism," John Dewey once remarked, "is a portmanteau
word. ''l It packs together a variety of meanings, some drawn from its
origins in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy, some from its association
with literature, particularly classical literature, some from its
alleged opposition to theology, and, in more recent times, from its
antiromantic and antinaturalistic temper. On its education side, it has
come to be associated with a set of subjects, a segment of the school
curriculum, believed to have the power to stir the imagination,
enhance the appreciation of beauty, and disclose motives that actuate
The current education reform movement reveals a retreat from democracy towards a commitment to technological advancement. The dangers inherent in this trend, where schools are turned into industrial and cultural instruments rather than developers of new political visions, are discussed.
Metaphors used commonly in education do not adequately define school problems or help in reform. A new metaphor of the school as a knowledge work organization is offered with a description of teacher and student roles.
The recent death of R. Buckminster Fuller was ample cause for students of religious and educational policy to pause and reflect. This man, widely regarded as an inventor, writer, architect, and social planner, had an influential and loyal following. His personal charm and enthusiasm for the potential lurking in the human mind to overcome old obstacles and create bold futures was a needed antidote to the cynicism and moral paralysis characteristic of much of our present age. It is thus with great respect and a tinge of remorse that the following bit of critical commentary is presented in testimony to Fuller’s life and death.
This article explores child and youth organizations created as a Socialist supplement to formal schooling in the early twentieth century. An examination of the Socialist party's views of educational policies is given.
Educational materials such as textbooks often reflect and define a culture through the use of symbols and metaphors. The use of visual metaphors in frontispieces of reading and spelling texts during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries show the emergence of a patriotic iconography.
This article discusses the development of the "individual" in America from John Dewey's and Josiah Royce's philosophical perspectives. Also outlined is America's changing role in the world.
The educational background and achievements of Benjamin Elijah Mays are related to illustrate points about the education of Black students. Such students need encouragement from teachers, a student-centered curriculum, and sometimes more time to perform well in college than classmates who are not educationally disadvantaged.
The holdings of the Darton Collection, a special library of children's books published in England before 1850, are discussed. The collection, housed at Columbia University in New York City, includes childrens' games and illustrations as well as books.
As a means to some historical perspective on American attitudes
toward education and work, this chapter compares arguments
of that earlier era with contemporary views as reflected in
President Carter's Youth Initiative of 1980. Three issues are singled
out: (a) equality of opportunity and a more democratic system
of education, (b) the relation of education to economic growth
and productivity, and (c) the control of vocational training.