A1. American Perception of Education

  Summary of contents in textbook

Education is regarded as the engine propelling the American dream of success, but the goal of education has changed over different phases.

  • The Puritan colonists employed school for spiritual advancement and preservation of religious freedom.
  • Thomas Jefferson considered that education should embody ideals of democracy, equality and civic empowerment.
  • Washington and his successors proposed establishing a national university and a national system of education with uniform standards for schools in all the states. But the Congress turned down this idea, fearing granting to the central government too much power which should be vested in the state governments.
  • In the 19th century Horace Mann held the view that everyone can succeed with knowledge and hard work. Education can also equalize everyone and Americanize the children of foreigners to cultivate cultural conformity.
  • John Dewey suggested that schools should endeavour to produce thinking citizens rather than obedient workers. Individualized instruction is necessary in American education.
  • George S. Counts commented in 1930 that education was the solution to the problems of human relations, and that the school could produce miracles and was “the American road to culture”.

  Pictures

Puritans

Puritans

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Washington and his successors

Washington and his successors

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Horace Mann

Horace Mann

John Dewey

John Dewey

 

  Supplementary readings

With the approach and arrival of the 21st century, to promote its education, the United States made lots of legislative works, including Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind Act and Every Student Succeeds Act. The introduction of the three acts is as followings.

The Goals 2000: Educate America Act (P.L. 103-227)” was signed into law on March 31, 1994 by President Bill Clinton. The Act provides resources to states and communities to ensure that all students reach their full potential.
The goals stated in the Summary of Goals 2000 include:
By the Year 2000:
All children in America will start school ready to learn.
The high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90 percent.
All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, the arts, history, and geography, and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our nation’s modern economy.
United States students will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.
Every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Every school in the United States will be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorized presence of firearms and alcohol and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.
The nation’s teaching force will have access to programs for the continued improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to instruct and prepare all American students for the next century.
Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.
With the final language of President George Bush’s 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (H.R. 1) came the withdrawal of all authorization for Goals 2000. However, even though Congress had withdrawn its authorization for Goals 2000, if funding was not also withdrawn, the crippled, but alive Goals 2000 program would stagger on.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB)was a U.S. Act of Congress that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; it included Title I provisions applying to disadvantaged students. It supported standards-based education reform based on the premise that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals could improve individual outcomes in education. The Act required states to develop assessments in basic skills. To receive federal school funding, states had to give these assessments to all students at select grade levels.
The act did not assert a national achievement standard – each state developed its own standards.NCLB expanded the federal role in public education through further emphasis on annual testing, annual academic progress, report cards, and teacher qualifications, as well as significant changes in funding.
President George W. Bush signing the No Child Left Behind Act.
The bill passed in the Congress with bipartisan support.By 2015, criticism from right, left, and center had accumulated so much that a bipartisan Congress stripped away the national features of No Child Left Behind. Its replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act, turned the remnants over to the states.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a US law passed in December 2015 that governs the United States K–12 public education policy. The law replaced its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and modified but did not eliminate provisions relating to the periodic standardized tests given to students. Like the No Child Left Behind Act, ESSA is a reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which established the federal government’s expanded role in public education.
The Every Student Succeeds Act passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support.
The bill is the first to narrow the United States federal government’s role in elementary and secondary education since the 1980s. The ESSA retains the hallmark annual standardized testing requirements of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act but shifts the law’s federal accountability provisions to states. Under the law, students will continue to take annual tests between third and eighth grade

  Useful websites

Øhttp://www.scranton.edu/pir/institutional-research/kates-from-ir/Public-Perceptions-of-Higher-Education.pdf

Øhttp://www.wilderdom.com/experiential/JohnDeweyPhilosophyEducation.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goals_2000

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Every_Student_Succeeds_Act

https://www.ed.gov/