Readings in American Educational History

Readings in American Educational History

Readings in American Educational History

Readings in American Educational History

Excerpt

The purpose of this collection of documents of American education is to make easily available to students and teachers of the subject carefully selected original sources of the educational and social history of the United States. The documents here brought together begin with those on Henrico College and East India School in Virginia in the early part of the seventeenth century--the first educational efforts in English North America-- and continue into 1950.

Interpretations of history are likely to vary, according to the interpreters. The late Charles A. Beard referred to written history as "the historian's act of faith," but it is generally recognized that faiths differ widely from one another. One result of this condition is that few teachers of educational and social history would say that they are entirely satisfied with the conventional textbooks. Nor are students today, particularly at the collegiate level, as ready and as willing as they once seemed to be to accept at face value all the statements found in their prescribed textbooks, however eminent the writers of these may be. In recent years, particularly with the influx of students under the G.I. Bill of Rights, collegiate classrooms have become pervaded more than formerly by a critical and sometimes even a skeptical attitude.

For many reasons an increasing number of teachers of educational and social history should like to provide their students with primary sources in the subject rather than to have them confine their reading to one or more textbooks. Moreover, acquaintance with original sources is encouragingly becoming properly recognized as the foundation of all sound historical knowledge; and nowadays good practice in teaching history, whether educational and social, political, economic, or of other aspects, requires that students of the subject have access to and acquaintance with the original sources. One difficulty in providing for such acquaintance in educational and social history has generally been the inaccessibility of such material. In an effort partially to remove this difficulty, the present volume has been prepared.

When George H. Martin in 1894 published the Evolution of the Massachusetts Public School System he said in the preface that a complete history of education in that state could never be prepared until the source materials . . .

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