The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States

By Dickson A. Mungazi | Go to book overview

able solution. Cavazos did not address the question of the rapidly rising numbers of disadvantaged students caused by the combination of factors that included increasing poverty, unemployment, disintegration of the nuclear family, continuing racial disparity, the widespread use of illegal drugs, and, in 1991, the crisis in the Persian Gulf, which was partly responsible for the recession. Indeed, a nation at risk that the National Commission on Excellence in Education saw in 1983 had, by 1991, become a nation in crisis.

The election of Bill Clinton as president in 1992 and his reelection in 1996 generated a new enthusiasm towards the development of education. At his inauguration for the second term, Clinton indicated that education would be the main focus of his administration. His theory was very simple, saying that the United States needed to provide the young people with skills so that they could develop confidence in both themselves and in the future of the country. As part of his strategy to improve education Clinton also directed the efforts of his administration towards eliminating drugs and smoking among students. He also offered a phased-in $10,000 tax deduction for college tuition or job training. 62 This plan of action was part of Clinton's theory of building the bridge to the twenty-first century.


CONCLUSION

This book has attempted to discuss the evolution of theory of education in the United States in terms of its effect on major developments, both historical and contemporary, that have impacted education and society since 1608. It has concluded that there are four critical areas of education that the formulation of theory must address. These are objectives, curriculum, administration, and problems. What one learns from the effect of these critical components of education is that an effective education cannot develop if it does not utilize theory in addressing them. These four components are at the center of the educational process and finding solutions to them will help find solutions to other problems. The study has also identified four other critical areas of national life that the evolution of theory of education must address if it is intended to serve the purpose for which it is initiated. These are social values, the national political character, finance, and reform. Let us briefly discuss the implications that each has, not only on the educational process, but also on society itself.


IMPLICATIONS

In many respects education is the process of adjusting to social values in the same way education defines social values. It is highly sensitive to the operative social norms. Any change in society and the values of society itself must be reflected in the educational process. The education that students receive has little or no meaning if it is not related to their needs and those of

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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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