HIST463 - HISTORY OF AMERICAN EDUC

Description: 
This course will examine the growth and development of American schools, from the colonial era into the present. By 1850, the United States sent a greater fraction of its children to school than any other nation on earth. Why? What did young people learn there? And, most of all, how did these institutions both reflect and shape our evolving conceptions of “America” itself? In an irreducibly diverse society, the answers were never simple. Americans have always defined their nation in a myriad of contrasting and often contradictory ways. So they have also clashed vehemently over their schools, which remain our central public vehicle for deliberating and disseminating the values that we wish to transmit to our young. Our course will pay close attention to these education-related debates, especially in the realms of race, class, and religion. When immigrants came here from other shores, would they have to relinquish their old cultures and languages? When African-Americans won their freedom from bondage, what status would they assume? And as different religious denominations fanned out across the country, how would they balance the uncompromising demands of faith with the pluralistic imperatives of democracy? All of these questions came into relief at school, where the answers changed dramatically over time. Early American teachers blithely assumed that newcomers would abandon their old-world habits and tongues; today, “multicultural education” seeks to preserve or even to celebrate these distinctive patterns. Post-emancipation white philanthropists designed vocational curricula for freed African-Americans, imagining blacks as loyal serfs; but blacks themselves demanded a more academic education, which would set them on the road to equality. Protestants and Catholics both used the public schools to teach their faith systems until the early 1960s, when the courts barred them from doing so; but religious controversies continue to hound the schools, especially on matters like evolution and sex education. How should our public schools address such dilemmas? How can the schools provide a “common” education, as Horace Mann called it, melding us into an integrated whole while still respecting our inevitable differences?
Instructors: 
ZIMMERMAN, JONATHAN
Day and Time: 
MW 0200PM-0330PM
Room: 
EDUCATION BUILDING 203
Activity: 
SEM
Cross Listings: 
    Registration Notes: 
    CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN US
    • Major Concentrations: American
    • Major/Minor requirements fulfilled: US