History of American Education

Course Description:  Americans have long understood schools both as mechanisms for developing communal values and as instruments for social reform. Schools have been alternatively described as pillars of democratic society and as authoritarian institutions for managing deviance. This course provides an introductory historical survey of American educational ideas and institutions. From debates in the 17th and 18th centuries over the proper balance of religious and secular education to fierce battles today over the role of the federal government in enforcing No Child Left Behind, citizens have been politically mobilized through their concerns about education. By understanding the complicated history of American educational ideas and institutions, this course prepares students to engage critically with ongoing debates about American education.