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Americans have long invested importance in education as a means of social improvement and individual fulfillment.
Education has entailed both formal instruction in schools, universities, and other institutions, and informal learning in a variety of settings. Schools were respected institutions early in American history, and their significance has grown with time.
Education and schooling have also been at the center of social and political conflict, often over issues of status and inequality. Schools eventually became instruments of government social policyutilized to offset historic inequities and to help achieve social justice. Education also contributed human capital to the nation's economy.
In the nineteenth century, reformers focused on training reliable workers; in the twentieth century, schools prepared men and women for office and professional employment. At the same time, education has been a vital element of social and economic mobility for generations of Americans. Historically, the primary schools were the objects of the nation's first great era of education reform.
Next came secondary schools, which grew most rapidly during the early twentieth century, and colleges and universities expanded notably in the years following World War II.
Schools at all levels have been indispensable to the formation of a national identity for Americans throughout history. From the very earliest stages of the new republic, schools have helped to foster loyalty to the principles of democratic governance, and to the particular tenets of American nationalism.
They also have served as a forum for debate over the evolution of these principles. Education in the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods The cultivation of skills and the transmission of culture were major concerns of English settlers in North Americaevident almost immediately upon their arrival.
This was apparent in New Englandwhere early laws called for establishing schools and for educating young men—and eventually young women too. But schools were established elsewhere, along with colleges, to provide avenues of formal education. Schools were fragile institutions in the colonial world, existing alongside older and more familiar agencies of education, the family and the church.
Even though there was a high level of rhetorical commitment to formal education in certain colonies, only a minority of youth were "educated" by today's standards. New England 's colonists placed special value on the necessity of moral and religious leadership, and preparing a cadre of educated leaders was considered essential.
An early sign of this was the decision to establish Boston Latin School in and Harvard College a year later. In the wake of religious debates and schisms, other colleges were started in nearby Connecticut Yale,Rhode Island Brown,and New Hampshire Dart-mouth, These were small institutions, enrolling fewer than a hundred students, and hardly represented a well-developed education system.
InMassachusetts enacted a law requiring towns of fifty families to establish a school, to confound the "Old Deluder Satan" in his never-ending quest to lead Christians astray. Connecticut enacted a similar law just a few years later and eventually other New England colonies did as well, with the exception of Rhode Island.
It is unlikely, however, that most towns large enough to be covered by these measures complied immediately, especially if there was not a large number of families interested in establishing a school. Only eleven known schools existed in Massachusetts inserving some 2, households or one for every ; bythe number of schools had grown to 23 and households to 8, one for every Even if the quantity of schools increased significantly in the eighteenth century, many children probably attended only briefly, if at all.
In other colonies, schools were even fewer. InVirginia had only eight schools for more than seven thousand households or about one for every nine hundred ; and New York had eleven for about families one for every two hundred.
Virginia's William and Mary was the only southern college of the colonial era. Others appeared in the middle colonies, reflecting the region's religious and cultural diversity.
While the appearance of such institutions was notable, there also was considerable indifference or even hostility to formal education, especially in the South.
InLord Berkeley of Virginia made this famous statement: Schools typically were run by a single teacher, or "master. For most colonists, schooling lasted less than seven or eight years, with only four or five months in each term. Students read the Bible, along with spellers, prayer books, catechisms, and other religious materials.
The famous New England Primerfirst published beforewas the best known of a wide range of reading materials used to impart lessons in spelling and grammar, along with morality and virtue.
While there were a few legendary teachers, such as Ezekial Cheever of the Boston Latin Schoolmany were college students or recent graduates waiting to be called to a pulpit.
Yet other teachers were men of modest education, ill suited for other lines of work, managing schools for lack of better employment.His work, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, is considered the first American naturalistic novel.
The Red Badge of Courage, a short novel from , is a fascinating story of a Civil War soldier.
Rawls has updated his classic text from and continues to promote his theories on justice and fairness in a democratic society. These books are some of . Theodore Dreiser was born August 27, in Terre Haute, Indiana. The younger brother of Paul Dresser, a well-known songwriter, Theodore was a famous novelist known for his outstanding American writing of naturalism.
Charles Moore (photographer) A Moore photograph of the Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama on May 3, Charles Lee Moore (March 9, – March 11, ) was an American photographer known for his photographs documenting the Civil Rights Movement.
Probably his most famous photo is of Martin Luther King Jr.'s arrest for loitering on September 3, Theodore Dreiser, (born Aug.
27, , Terre Haute, Ind., U.S.—died Dec. 28, , Hollywood, Calif.), novelist who was the outstanding American practitioner of naturalism. He was the leading figure in a national literary movement that replaced the observance of Victorian notions of propriety with the unflinching presentation of real-life subject matter.
His weaknesses, his oddities, his charm, his humour, his stutter, are all as familiar to his readers as if they had known him, and the tragedy and noble self-sacrifice of his life add a feeling of reverence for a character we already love.