Movers & Shakers

Movers and Shakers in Education The Common School Movement (1830 – 1865) The common school movement advocated for a greater role by the government in children’s education. To this end, Horace Mann was a staunch advocate for the common schools (Kaestle 2). Horace Mann believed that the social coexistence and political stability was dependent on achieving universal education. Consequently, he lobbied the state to embrace ‘nonsectarian’ common schools for the admittance of all children. To this effect, Mann argued that it was civic and religious duty for the government to support common schools.
Moreover, Mann believed that teachers were in need of a formal education system beyond High School. Consequently, Mann was joined by other lobbyist for common schools such as Catherine Beecher. However, it is critical to mention that resistance to the common schools was evident from Roman Catholic adherents. To this effect, the opponent believed that nonsectarian common schools were against the precincts of Catholicism. However, the first common school was established in Massachusetts in 1839 following compromise and political consensus.
By the latter period of the 19th century, other states adopted common schools policies that evolved to what the contemporary public schools system. John Dewey (1916) John Dewey was epitomized as a prominent American philosopher and educational revolutionary whose ideologies contributed to reform in the social and education sector. In reference to education, Dewey is best known for his philosophies in education. To this end, John Dewey theorized education as the process of developing an individual’s capacities to which the person gains control over his/her environment and consequently fulfil his/her potential (Novak).

Consequently, John Dewey formulated four aims of education. Foremost, he believed that education is life whereby life itself was epitomized by education. Moreover, education is life was whereby the learner was focused on the present scenario and not the future. Secondly, Dewey believed that education is experience. Consequently, he explained that education should be based in experience since it develops a new insight in the learner and replaces old experience. Third, Dewey believed that education was centred on the development of social efficiency.
To this end, he envisaged the school as a social institution designed to replicate the realities of the outer world. Fourth, Dewey believed that theory and practice should be conjoined in education. Consequently, thoughts or words should be precincts of teaching and learning. Moreover, Dewey envisioned a method of teaching through direct experience. This was whereby teaching was based on activities in direct connection with the child’s life. Evidently, John Dewey’s theory of experiential learning and child centred social theory contributed to the development of contemporary education practices in the 21st century.
Consequently, his education philosophies marked a shift from lecture based learning processes. The Case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955) The case involved the pertinent issue of racial segregation in public learning institutions. To this end, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Thurgood Marshal led a judicial campaign against the racial segregation of learners at school (“History of Brown v. Board of Education. “). The Brown vs. Board of Education was a consortium of five cases involving Briggs vs. Elliot, Gebhart vs. Ethel, Brown vs.
Board of Education of Topeka, Davis vs. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA) and Boiling vs. Sharpe(“History of Brown v. Board of Education. “). The facts underlying each case were divergent but were all connected based on the legality of government-sponsored segregation of students in public schools. Initially, the U. S District Court had favoured the school boards in its judgment. Consequently, the plaintiffs launched an appeal in the Supreme Court of U. S. Thus, in the hearing of the cases in 1952, all the five of them were collectively referred to as the Brown vs.
Board of Education. While arguing against the case, the plaintiff counsel stated that segregation of black and white students fuelled inequality, and went against the ‘equal protection clause’ stipulated in the United State’s Fourteenth Amendment constitution. Moreover, the plaintiff cited Kenneth Clark’s social scientific research that discovered segregation school polices imposed an inferiority complex among black children. In the ruling presided over by Chief justice Warren in 1954, the court ruled in favour of the plaintiff.
Consequently, the court concluded that the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ was unconstitutional and that segregation of students was inherently unequal. On May 31 1995, the Supreme Court ordered and expedient and speedy process of desegregation of all public schools. However, the desegregation process dragged on for over 20 years. Despite this, the Brown vs. Board of Education set the precedent for an equal and racially transformation of the American education sector. No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002
The No child left behind act was officially signed into law on 8th January 2002 (American Speech Language Hearing Association). Its fundamental precinct was based on the notion that every child can learn. Moreover, it envisioned a future whereby all children will achieve proficiency in learning. In addition, the ‘No Child Left Behind Act ‘is an elaborate blueprint for reforming schools, empowering parents and transformational change in school culture. Towards the goal of improving educational standards for all children, the act incorporates all students in public schools.
To this end, it is inclusive of all children irrespective of those disabilities. Moreover, it applies to children with behavioural dysfunctions, immigrant children, minority kids as well as those learning English as Second Language. The law came into force following increasing growing concern about the declining standards of education. Evidently, the former President, George. W. Bush recognized that segregation in reference to the disadvantaged children in schools was prevalent as well as inadequate standards of measuring progress of students.
In seeking to increase the parents’ role in the child, the Act recognized the need for holding school’s accountable in performance standards. Consequently, the act empowers parents with the right to know whether their children are making sufficient academic progress. In reference to the teacher, the Act demands for highly qualified personnel in the respective subjects. It equally calls for use of validated research driven instruction manuals. Furthermore, the acts seeks to increase accountability through formulation of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for states.
To this end, Adequate Yearly Progress stipulates the minimum benchmark of improvement required by school districts yearly. As a result, the NCLB Act has set the precedent of improving education for children through the collaborative efforts of parents, schools districts and teachers. References American Speech Language Hearing Association ASHA. 2012. “No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Retrieved from http://www. asha. org/advocacy/federal/nclb/exec-summary. htm. Kaestle, C. F. , & Foner, E. (1983). Pillars of the republic: Common schools and American society, 1780-1860.
New York: Hill and Wang. Print. Novak, George. 1960. “John Dewey’s Theories of Education. ” International Socialist Review, Vol. 21, No. 1, Winter 1960. Retrieved from http://www. marxists. org/archive/novack/index. htm United States Courts. 2012. “History of Brown v. Board of Education. “. Retrieved from //www. uscourts. gov/EducationalResources/ConstitutionResources/LegalLandmarks/HistoryOfBrownVBoardOfEducation. aspx. xtimeline. 2009. “American Education: From Revolution to the Twentieth Century. ” Famento. Retrieved from www. xtimeline. com/evt/view. aspx? id=637932.

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