Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
EDUCATION AND THE ADULT

Two Epochs in Education . After all, perhaps the most radical departure of the modern school and the curriculum will be found in the extension of education, not only to include a broad curriculum but to include all the people as well. This movement is not merely a manifestation of that phase of democracy which offers equal opportunity to all citizens alike, but is also evidence of the recognition that democratic government, if it is to function successfully, must be grounded upon education and its benefits. Thus the extension of education in the modern era has two major implications of great importance to democracy. The first of these is the epochal contribution of the concept of public education which, along with the industrial revolution, is generally rated as the greatest of modern social forces. This movement includes the larger processes of education as it applies to country schools and city schools, to the poor and to the well-to-do, to superior children and to backward children, and to diverse groups of various occupation, race, age, sex. The other larger implication of the new educational trend is found in the modern movement for extension education, the most important part of which has to do with the adult in society.

The Meaning of Education . Thus the meaning of education in the modern world assumes changing aspects. The original elementary school's purpose was to train its pupils in the elements of "readin', writin', and 'rithmetic." This has been expanded to teach children something of play, of the arts, and of the more interesting phases of the school subjects. The secondary schools also, in addition to training the pupils in such things as language, algebra, ancient history, physics, encourage various extracurricular activities such as dramatics, competitive athletics, community work. Also, the old idea of the school was that it should take up where the home left off. The new ideals, through various methods of kindergarten work and other features, now integrate

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