The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States

The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States

The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States

The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States

Synopsis

There is no better way to understand a society's assessment of its own success or failure than an examination of its theories of education, because any attempt to improve national performance will be reflected in educational policy. This study is a comprehensive account of the evolution of American educational theory from the colonial period to the present. It includes a broad discussion of the foundations upon which early Americans built their educational policy, as well as influential factors unique to the American experience. From the Revolution to nineteenth century reform efforts to the turbulent twentieth century, educational theory has been adapted to suit the needs of an ever-changing, multicultural society.

Excerpt

The action that President George Bush of the United States and President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union took in Moscow on July 31, 1991, in signing the nuclear arms reduction treaty ushered in a new era of relationships between the two superpowers and members of the international community. The signing ceremonies would not have taken place if the signatories were uninformed about the issues that had brought them to the negotiating table over the past decade or if they were not convinced of the intent of the treaty itself. This means that the two leaders and the two nations they represented had previously gone through the process of evolution to arrive at the conclusion that it was in the best interest of both countries to sign the treaty. Whatever reasons they used to arrive at that conclusion, the process demanded observation of theory. The purpose of this study is to discuss the evolution of the theory of education in the United States from the beginning of the colonial period to the present.

Because the signing of this treaty was so critical to the security of the world as a whole, it is important to discuss briefly some theoretical reasons and arguments that led to it. This will help put the evolution of theory in its proper broader context. In 1982 a national debate was initiated in the U.S. Congress about the real danger of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Senator Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.) and Senator Mark Hatfield (R., Ore.) introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate calling for a freeze by both the Soviet Union and the United States in the experimentation, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons. Kennedy and Hatfield were joined by 22 other senators and 150 members of the House of . . .

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