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School Reform: Past and Present.

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United States educational history is full of uncertain reform attempts beginning with colonial New England's school reform goal of salvation in this world as a preparation for eternal life in the next. A more practical type of education characterized the Early National Period. Monitorial schools and communal schools, as in New Harmony, Indiana, preceded the common school movement, the major nineteenth century school reform. Led by Horace Mann in Massachusetts, Henry Barnard in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and similar leaders in other states, the common school was open to all, state tax supported, and in time, compulsory. The reform was spread by Jacksonian democrats, newspapers and educational journals, and enlightened speakers on the American lyceum circuit in town halls across the nation. Changing conditions, 1893-1918, transformed the high school from an elite to a plebeian, multipurpose, comprehensive institution. The child-centered progressive education movement, 1890s-1930s, also had a leveling effect. Reformed to meet the multiple needs of mass enrollments, the high school inevitably lowered its academic standards for the average and below average. In times of national crisis many so-called school reforms appeared briefly. Today hard choices and creative solutions potentially may confer upon teachers the authority, autonomy, responsibility, and respect that they deserve. (BZ)

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Author:Parker, Franklin
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Jan 1, 1986
Words:275
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