Task 2: Historical Project Options
Select one activity from among the following options.
Complete the task, using the following criteria on the Option/Project Scoring Guide.
For any of the options below, react to the following statement in your discussion:
"A major historical concern of schooling throughout history has been to establish social controls and serve the special interests of a social elite" (Clabaugh & Rozycki, 1996, p. 405).
- Trace a topic through each of the periods marking American education (Colonial, 1620-1750; Revolutionary 1750-1820; State-supported common schools, 1820-1865; compulsory education, 1865-1920; progressive era, 1920-1945; and post-war era, 1945-1990) explaining the historical framework and prevailing beliefs and values related to that topic. Include in your discussion educational "seeds" from European or non-western antecedents as well as implications for the present and the future. Some possible topics include: attitudes towards teachers, teacher preparation, appropriate teacher behaviors, views of childhood, who got educated, early childhood education, secondary education, education for African Americans and Native Americans, education for girls, education of disabled, role of religion, classroom management, classroom environment and furnishings, textbooks, etc.
- Trace the evolution of school subjects/curriculum from ancient Greece through each historical era in American education and into the present. What influenced the choices of these subjects? What has changed and why? What criteria should be used to decide what curriculum or subjects should be studied? What changes might be anticipated ten or twenty years from now? You might select a particular subject, such as mathematics, physical or agricultural education, or history; or you might look more broadly at the curriculum over different time periods.
- Evaluate the role of the federal government and the courts in promoting equal educational opportunity. Consider the antecedents in state support for common schools and efforts towards compulsory education.
- Design a web page for a particular aspect of history of education It might be about a particular person, event, or era. Make it interesting and attractive. Use 12-point Times font. E-mail, then send on a formatted disk (MS Word--specify version) to the instructor for posting.
- Volunteer in a public school, keeping a log of your time. Relate the material on history of education to what you are discovering in the school and classroom in a 2-3 page essay. You could use discussions with the teacher, a home visit, data about the kids, interviews with the principal, etc. in your discussions. For example, you might consider how the history of American education has affected a particular student, such as what he or she studies or how he or she is taught. Or you might ask an experienced teacher or principal to discuss what changes they have experienced or observed over a period of years. To what do they attribute the major changes in education?
- Read one of the following books. These may be obtained through your public library or through OSU Valley Library. Provide an overview of the book (about two pages). Using examples from the book, analyze how formal education has been used to perpetuate the existing power structure and social class in an additional two pages or so. What are your conclusions?
Spring, Joel (1989). The Sorting Machine Revisited: National Educational Policy since 1945. New York: Longman.
Tyack, David (1974). One Best System: A History of American Urban Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
E-mail your completed task to Sally Atkin, firstname.lastname@example.org, for feedback and grading.
© 1999 LeoNora M. Cohen & Judy Gelbrich, OSU - School of Education