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Social Efficiency Tradition

  • By: J. Wesley Null
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Social efficiency defies a single definition, but the idea that a good curriculum should result in a harmonious, well-functioning, and balanced society is a theme found in the work of all writers who used the term social efficiency.

The phrase was popular during the first few decades of the 20th century. It was used by many educators and educational reformers who were trying to identify an overall purpose for U.S. education. Because it was so popular, social efficiency meant different things to different people during the heyday of its use during the 1910s and 1920s. Similar to such terms as accountability, effectiveness, and excellence today, educational reformers and political figures could use the phrase social efficiency to appeal to audiences that had markedly different ideas in ...

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