Secondary Education for Youth in Modern America

By Harl R. Douglass | Go to book overview
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IV
RECENT CHANGES AND CURRENT
TRENDS IN AMERICAN LIFE

THE life of perhaps no other people has undergone in so short a period so thorough a transformation as that of the Western nations and particularly of Americans in the last two or three generations. The program of education has lagged increasingly behind these changes. It now needs at least to be re-evaluated.

The significance of these changes for education falls into two types. The various institutions of society no longer yield the same educational results as they formerly did. Many types of valuable training are no longer the natural result of participation in those institutions. In some instances the educational result is greater or more valuable. In others, the nature of the training is different, though not clearly of less or greater value. Not only do other social institutions fail to render educational services as in the past, but modern American life and institutions make greater and more complex demands upon education. The more important of these changes and some of their implications will be reviewed briefly.*

Changes in the home as they affect education. The typical home of seventy-five years ago was a rural or semi-rural one. It was to a very great extent a self-sufficient economic unit. The foods consumed by those who occupied it were

____________________
*
The materials of this chapter were prepared in the light of and partly by means of the conclusions of President Hoover's Research Committee on Social Trends, Wm. F. Ogburn, Chairman, 1933, and John Dewey's School and Society, 1899.

-43-

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