Lives in Education: A Narrative of People and Ideas

By L. Glenn Smith; Joan K. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
The Critics

The progressives were in the mainstream of educational thought and practice in America until well into the twentieth century, but they were not the only ones concerned about schools. Conscientious educators all over the world struggled to adapt educational curricula and teaching methodologies to conflicting demands. From the 1890s through the 1930s, changes took place at all levels of schooling. Some educators saw this as the realization of Plato's desire to sift out the born leaders of society--the philosopher- kings. Psychologists like Carl Brigham of Princeton, H. H. Goddard of the training school at Vineland, New Jersey, and Lewis Terman of Stanford concluded that intelligence was basically hereditary and argued for federal immigration policies to turn away the intellectually inferior. Social reformers like Jane Addams favored separate schools for "special students"; that is, the morally defective, mentally subnormal, and behaviorally deviant. Parents would be told that this procedure was of enormous benefit to their children. In the 1890s, the NEA's Committee of Ten recommended that collegiate education be composed of courses of study that would include choices ranging from the classical liberal arts to modern languages and science.

In 1918, after three years of meeting, the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education (CRSE) advocated a comprehensive high school composed of three tracks: the traditional college prep or general track; a business or commercial track; and a new technical (industrial) track. In addition, the CRSE enunciated "seven cardinal principles" that should be stressed by comprehensive high schools: (1) health, (2) command of fundamental processes, (3) worthy home membership, (4) vocational training, (5) citizenship, (6) good use of leisure time, and (7) char

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