The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States

By Dickson A. Mungazi | Go to book overview

King Charles I of Spain gave the colonists permission, known as assiento, to import slaves--the number of slaves shipped to the New World dramatically increased when twenty Africans, three of them women, arrived in Jamestown. From that time to Emancipation slavery played a major role in sustaining institutions in the South. Every other move was related to slavery. Therefore, there was a lack of theory because the need for formal education was not as profoundly felt as it was in the other two regions. The lack of emphasis on the role of religion meant there was little emphasis placed on moral values. The problems that were experienced in society arose primarily from the lack of formal institutional structures that were considered essential to transmitting a new social code. 46 In this context the evolution of theory took a back seat to other matters.


SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

The discussion in this chapter leads to two conclusions. The first is that as the New World began to develop, it utilized theories formulated during the Renaissance by thinkers in Europe to provide an adequate basis for that development. The utilization of the theories of John Locke enabled the colonists to try something that had meaning for their struggle for development. Locke's theories were more applicable to conditions that existed in the New World because colonists were developing a new society different from the one in Europe. The evolution of theory to address problems of society could not be separated from the evolution of theory to address the kind of education that they needed to maximize their developmental efforts.

The second conclusion is that as the three regions of the New World began the task of development they adopted different theories they believed were relevant to their needs. New England opted for the strict interpretation of Calvin's theology, the Middle Atlantic colonies chose to utilize various religious theories and theology to address their specific needs. The South did not define its theory in a way the other two regions did. This means that the South remained in a state of underdevelopment for years to come. As a result, the South experienced serious social problems until the twentieth century. This chapter has presented evidence to suggest that as long as the society of the South was structured on the institution of slavery, it was not possible for its members to see the future without it. Slavery was an intimate part of the political, social, and economic system. This inhibited its ability to initiate the evolution of a theory of education that would promote the development of education as a condition of other forms of its development.


NOTES
1.
Lloyd Duck, Understanding American Education: Its Past, Practices, and Promise (Burke, VT. Chetelaine, 1996), p. 49.

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The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Origins of the Theory of Western Education 15
  • Notes 34
  • 2 - Theory During the Colonial Period 37
  • Notes 57
  • 3 - Theory During the Revolutionary Period 61
  • Notes 80
  • 4 - Theory During the Common School Movement 83
  • 5 - The Theory of Secondary, Higher, and Teacher Education 103
  • Notes 121
  • 6 - The Courts and the Theory of Education for African Americans 125
  • 7 - Theory to Address National Problems: From Warren G. Harding to Bill Clinton 153
  • Notes 181
  • Conclusion 210
  • Notes 211
  • Selected Bibliography 215
  • Index 237
  • About the Author 251
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