Horace Mann believed that ignorance and illiteracy in the public should be eliminated (Huerta 28). He proposed that the education of the public is a matter of public interest and as such an interested public should pay for, control and sustain it. Horace also believed that public education should be provided in schools that accepted students from different economic, social and ethnic backgrounds, schools that have zero tolerance for segregation. Such education, Mann believed was best provided by professional teachers (Huerta 26). He also proposed for longer school years, that students should stay in schools till the age of sixteen.
There has been great evolution in public schools today. The principles proposed by Mann are taken seriously and have been integrated into the school curriculum such that each public school now follows these principles.
According to Horace Mann, a consensus style leadership would be more effective in achieving the goals set. Unlike command style leadership in which the commands comes from one person or from a central point an everyone is expected to follow, consensus leadership would enable people make their thoughts known, they would then deliberate on the ideas and come up with the best way forward. This style of leadership is adequate for today’s educational leaders and administrators as it allows for democracy.
Mann believed that public schools should be able to compromise in teaching Christianity. He advocated for non- sectarian schools when it came to religion stating that students should be taught Christian values that are common to all religion and not doctrines which differ from one religion to another.
The contemporary movement toward educational standards and their verification by standardized testing is a good move to ensure that the quality of education stays high. Standardized testing is a good way of gauging the capabilities of each student as such it is a good initiative. Mann would embrace the standardized movement.
The purpose and objective of multicultural education is mainly to ensure that students have a brush with other cultures. It enables students to appreciate the different cultures in the world. Mann would embrace he move toward multicultural education as it prevents sectarian education.
The move toward making early childhood education more academic is a good move. A more academic early childhood education would make the child more prepared for school work thus enabling him or her to be more productive. The launching of the kindergarten by Froebel was to stop young children from working and to allow them to play and nurture their talents from a young age. The move toward making early childhood education more academic would be seen to be preventing this because the children would be more involved with academic and would have less time to develop their talents.
Playing is general accepted in children. It helps a child to grow physically, mentally and emotional. It also enables a child to be creative. Playing in adults is looked at mostly from a professional point of view. Froebel would embrace the idea of play in children as it helps in the growth of a child.
The kindergarten was an idea that Froebel came up with after realizing that a child needed to start studying from a young age. It was at first only implemented in Germany. In the US, the main method of education was home schooling. With the adoption of kindergarten in many parts of the world, laws were made that required that every town with fifty homes employ a teacher and towns with one hundred or more homes build a school. Soon there was a move from home schooling to attending actual schools.
Jefferson was one of the greatest proponents of equality in education (Huerta 28). He felt that education would be the best means to stop socioeconomic inequality. He was particularly interested in the education of the African Americans and Native Americans and he ensured their inclusion in the process of equalizing the education sector. In ensuring that the spirit of equalizing education was well inculcated in society, he accepted that the children of minority groups were not being given the quality of education that the other students were getting. As such he strived to improve the quality of education for the minority students. Using the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Jefferson created a team to research and to write a report on lack of availability of equal educational opportunities for individuals by reason of race, color, religion or national origin. The findings of the research was unexpected, the belief that the there was no equality in education was false, in fact teacher pay, instructional facilities and even the curriculum materials both in predominantly black school and white schools were similar. It was therefore difficult to explain why students in the majority schools passed yet those in minority schools failed.
After various studies on the educational system in the U.S, it was seen that the best way to move forward is to pass ‘No Child Left Behind’. This is an initiative that is geared toward ensuring that there are no gaps in the education sector. It is meant to ensure that children from minority groups get the same opportunities as children from majority groups. It was believed that the gap in education was created mainly because of the strive to create equal educational opportunities. The proponents of this focused so much on creating equal opportunities that they forgot about excellence. With the passing of No Child Left Behind, it becomes easier for the reconciliation of the tension between equality and excellence. In contemporary American education, these issues have been successfully solved leading to the achievement of both equality and excellence.
Wollstonecraft was one of the main proponents for the education of women (Etherington 100). She believed that to make women useful members of society and to enable them to contribute to the society, they should be properly educated. At a time when it was believed that women were not sensible enough and that fragile to think clearly and as such their ideas were not considered in decision making, Wollstonecraft, together with a few other women came out strongly opposing this notion (Etherington 100). Wollstonecraft maintained that the problem women were facing especially when it came to unequal opportunities and lack of education to men because men were also the main proponents of the thought that women should not study. Wollstonecraft believed that if women were to be given the same opportunities in education as men were given, they would be able to impact positively in society and make decisions that if implemented could bring a lot of change in society.
Wollstonecraft’s ideas on education if implemented in relation to minority groups would solve the problem that was faced in society. This idea would allow people from different cultural backgrounds to get the same opportunities in education. It would enable the equal development of people from all backgrounds. Same education opportunities for people from different cultural backgrounds would allow them to interact. The interaction would make everyone realize that there is no difference between them apart from their cultures. Interaction is important because with time it fosters good relations between people from different cultures and also increases tolerance. Ideas that foster multiculturalism therefore, are as important as Wollstonecraft’s ideas on the education of women. They provide equal opportunities for everyone thus enabling development.
Throughout the years, there has been great development in the laws of the U.S. The laws have been used as a means of creating equality and discouraging classism, racism, or gender imbalance. The laws have been made tougher ensuring that anyone who commits such crimes is punished accordingly. It is therefore almost impossible for such injustices to occur in today’s society.
The Story of American Public Education
This is basically a summary of the major events that took place in the education sector in the U.S.A. The terms used in the paper to describe the developments in the education sector include;
The common school
It was a period in which only the larger towns in New England were required by law to build schools. Children were given a horn book which contained letters of the alphabet and the Lord’s Prayer and schooling linked to protestant bible. Only a few privileged students managed to study up to university level.
- Post- independence schooling
Elimination of British textbooks from American classrooms, thanks to Noah Webster. Students at this time taught about the legends i.e. the founding fathers this was in a bid to promote Nationality. Webster publishes a book that is used to teach spelling and in so doing promotes American English, pronounced and spelt differently from British English.
Proposal to guarantee three years of public schooling for American children
Provided advanced education for a few students to be selected and to later serve the country. This proposal was aimed at giving people the basics of democracy. Founded the idea of a publicly funded university
Girl child education
Jefferson’s plan did not take into much consideration the benefit that could be derived by teaching the girl child. His plan consisted of three years of education for girls. This he thought was enough to prepare them for marriage and motherhood.
Education for slaves.
Slaves were not to be educated. Education for slaves was therefore a dangerous undertaking and as such was done in secret. Slaves still struggled to get education even at when it was a threat to their life.
After the civil war, there was segregation in that there were different schools for African American students and for white students. There were protests against segregation based mainly on the facts that it promoted racism and that there was no equality in such a system of education. Segregation defended by members if school committees who thought that it was beneficial to African American students.
Huerta, Grace. Educational Foundations: Diverse Histories, Diverse Perspectives. Boston, Mass: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Print
Etherington, Matthew. Foundations of Education: A Christian Vision. , 2014. Internet resource.