Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent

Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent


Edited by: Thomas C. Hunt, James C. Carper, Thomas J. Lasley II & C. Daniel Raisch


Educational reform, and to a lesser extent educational dissent, occupy a prominent place in the annals of U.S. education. Whether based on religious, cultural, social, philosophical, or pedagogical grounds, they are ever-present in our educational history. Although some reforms have been presented as a remedy for society’s ills, most programs were aimed toward practical transformation of the existing system to ensure that each child will have a better opportunity to succeed in U.S. society.Educational reform is a topic rich with ideas, rife with controversy, and vital in its outcome for school patrons, educators, and the nation as a whole. With nearly 450 entries, these two volumes comprise the first reference work to bring together the strands of reform and reformers and dissent and dissenters in ...

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    • Editorial Board


      Thomas C. Hunt, University of Dayton

      James C. Carper, University of South Carolina

      C. Daniel Raisch, University of Dayton

      Thomas J. Lasley II, University of Dayton

      Managing Editor

      Julie M. Slife, University of Dayton

      Editorial Board
      • Charles L. Glenn, Boston University
      • Martin Haberman, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
      • Frederick (Rick) M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute
      • Craig Kridel, University of South Carolina
      • Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin–Madison
      • Andrew Rotherham, Education Sector
      • Linda Valli, University of Maryland
      • Mitchell Yell, University of South Carolina


      View Copyright Page

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      Reader's Guide

      About the Editors

      Thomas C. Hunt is a professor in the Center for Catholic Education and the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Dayton, where he has taught since 1996. He received his BA in history at Loras College, a licentiate of sacred theology and an MA in secondary education administration from the Catholic University of America, and his PhD in educational policy studies (social and historical foundations of education) from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has authored or coedited 22 books, including such recent works as the Handbook of Research on Catholic Higher Education (with E. Joseph, R. Nuzzi, and J. Geiger), The Impossible Dream: Education and the Search for Panaceas, and Religion and Schooling in Contemporary America: Confronting Our Cultural Pluralism (with J. Carper). A historian of education, Hunt has expertise in religion and education, particularly dealing with Catholic schools. From 1998 to 2008 he served as coeditor of Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, at the time the only refereed journal on Catholic schools in the nation.

      James C. Carper is a professor of social foundations in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of South Carolina, where he has been a faculty member since 1989. He earned his BA in American history at Ohio Wesleyan University and his PhD in social foundations of education at Kansas State University. His research interests include history of education in the United States, education and religion, and private schools. His work has been published in History of Education Quarterly, Educational Forum, Journal of Church and State, Educational Policy, Peabody Journal of Education, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, and Kappa Delta Pi Record. He recently coauthored (with T. C. Hunt) The Dissenting Tradition in American Education and coedited (with Hunt) The Praeger Handbook of Religion and Education in the United States. Carper teaches an undergraduate foundations course as well as graduate courses in history of education. In addition, he serves on several educational advisory and editorial boards.

      C. Daniel Raisch received a BS from Wilmington College in 1961, an MA from Wittenberg University in 1966, and his PhD in educational administration from Miami University in 1973. He was a public school educator for 30 years and an administrator for 25 years, 18 of which he served as a superintendent. He joined the faculty at the University of Dayton as an assistant professor in 1991. Since that time, he has served as department chair for teacher education and, since 1998, as associate dean of the School of Education and Allied Professions. He has published articles in Education Law Journal, Journal of Research and Policy Studies, Education and Urban Society, School Business Affairs, Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration, and Encyclopedia of Education Law.

      Thomas J. Lasley II (PhD, Ohio State University) has been at the University of Dayton since 1983. During that time, he has served as a faculty member, department chair, and currently serves as dean of the School of Education and Allied Professions. The course he most frequently teaches focuses on school cultures and how those cultures are influenced by social and political realities. He also teaches a course on models of teaching to foster enhanced student learning. He has authored or coauthored books in both areas: Teaching Peace and Instructional Models: Strategies for Teaching in a Diverse Society, Second Edition. He has authored or coauthored 11 books that focus on a range of topics related to instructional design and the use of data to inform decision making at the classroom and school levels. He has served on the Ohio Governor's Commission for Teaching Success and is past president of the Dayton Council on World Affairs (a regional organization focused on enhancing public understanding of political events on an international scale) and of the Project 30 Alliance (a national reform initiative focused on teacher education). He was cofounder of the Dayton Early College Academy, which was the first school of its type in Ohio and one of the first early colleges in the United States.


      Michelle A. Abrego, University of Texas at Brownsville

      Charles Achilles, Seton Hall University

      Shauna Meyers Adams, University of Dayton

      Judith Ann Aiken, University of Vermont

      Chad Aldeman, Education Sector

      M. David Alexander, Virginia Tech

      Julius A. Amin, University of Dayton

      Mary Lou Andrews, University of Dayton

      Kelli Jo Arndt, University of Dayton

      Jackie Marshall Arnold, University of Dayton

      William L. Bainbridge, University of Dayton

      Joni L. Baldwin, University of Dayton

      Mario C. Barbiere, Bloomfield College, NJ

      Richard Carl Baringer, Youngstown State University

      James D. Basham, University of Cincinnati

      Bonnie M. Beyer, University of Michigan–Dearborn

      Julie K. Biddle, Accelerated Schools Center–Ohio

      Susan Bodary, EDvention

      Michael Boone, Texas State University–San Marcos

      Christa Boske, Kent State University

      Connie Louise Bowman, University of Dayton

      Jane Boyd-Zaharias, Heros, Inc.

      Barbara Louise Brock, Creighton University

      Kara D. Brown, University of South Carolina

      Kermit Buckner, East Carolina University

      Zoë Burkholder, Montclair State University

      Larry D. Burton, Andrews University

      Kevin Carey, Education Sector

      James C. Carper, University of South Carolina

      Michael Casserly, Council of the Great City Schools

      Katherine Chaddock, University of South Carolina

      Crystal Renee Chambers, East Carolina University

      Effie N. Christie, Kean University

      Christine Ann Christle, University of South Carolina

      Jackie Collier, Wright State University

      Rachel M. B. Collopy, University of Dayton

      Larry D. Cook, Ashland University

      Aaron Cooley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

      Bruce S. Cooper, Fordham University

      Eugene Paul Cordonnier, Upper Valley JVS

      Betty Cox, University of Tennessee at Martin

      Edward Crowe, The Bench Group LLC

      Dalton B. Curtis, Jr., Southeast Missouri State University

      Danielle E. Dani, Ohio University

      Jill Davidson, Coalition of Essential Schools

      Fred Dawson, Canton City Schools

      Janice M. Deeds, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

      Barbara M. De Luca, University of Dayton

      George Mario Paul DeMarco, Jr., University of Dayton

      Mark W. Dewalt, Winthrop University

      Douglas M. DeWitt, Salisbury University

      Edwin M. Dickey, University of South Carolina

      Erin Dillon, Education Sector

      David Alan Dolph, University of Dayton

      Saran Donahoo, Southern Illinois University

      Erik Drasgow, University of South Carolina

      Christopher M. Duncan, University of Dayton

      William Patrick Durow, Creighton University

      Kellah Edens, University of South Carolina

      Gunapala Edirisooriya, Youngstown State University

      Donna Elder, National University

      Pamela Ellis, Stanford University

      Carol Engler, Ashland University

      James Harold Evans, University of Dayton

      David F. Feldon, Washington State University

      Bruce E. Field, University of South Carolina

      Colleen Finegan, Wright State University

      Catherine Flynn, University of South Carolina

      Shani A. Foy-Watson, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

      Myra Suzanne Franco, Wright State University

      Christopher J. Frey, Bowling Green State University

      Milton Gaither, Messiah College

      Sally Campbell Galman, University of Massachusetts–Amherst

      Charles L. Glenn, Boston University

      Raul Gonzalez, National Council of La Raza

      Marilyn L. Grady, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

      Brenda F. Graham, Concordia University

      Margaret E. Gredler, University of South Carolina

      Judith Ann Green, Southern Illinois University

      Amita Gupta, City University of New York

      Wanda M. Hadley, Central State University

      Robert L. Hampel, University of Delaware

      Donna Hanby, Wright State University

      Elizabeth P. Harper, Northern Virginia Community College

      Mary Harris-John, Marshall University

      Linda A. Hartley, University of Dayton

      Susan Hasazi, University of Vermont

      Ann Hassenpflug, University of Akron

      John Haught, Wright State University

      Gregory M. Hauser, Roosevelt University

      Ronald G. Helms, Wright State University

      Janet M. Herrelko, University of Dayton

      Sharon C. Hoffman, Southeastern Louisiana University

      Robert J. Hoffmeister, Boston University

      Grace Beatrice Hopcraft, University of Victoria

      Aimee Howley, Ohio University

      Thomas C. Hunt, University of Dayton

      Melissa Hurst, University of South Carolina

      Timothy Ilg, University of Dayton

      Marla Susman Israel, Loyola University Chicago

      Thomas P. Jandris, Concordia University Chicago

      Michelle L. Jay, University of South Carolina

      Steve Jenkins, Lamar University

      Louise B. Jennings, Colorado State University

      Qetler Jensrud, University of Akron

      Pamela Carol Jewett, University of South Carolina

      Carolyn Talbert Johnson, University of Dayton

      Celia E. Johnson, Bradley University

      Eileen S. Johnson, Oakland University

      Patricia Altenbernd Johnson, University of Dayton

      Robert L. Johnson, University of South Carolina

      V. L. Johnson-Coger, Ohio University

      Laurice Marie Joseph, Ohio State University

      Zachary G. Kassebaum, Waverly High School

      Janet E. Kearney, Ashland University

      Mary Kay Kelly, University of Dayton

      Rodney Wallace Kennedy, First Baptist Church Dayton

      Thomas A. Kessinger, Xavier University

      Sally Kilgore, Modern Red SchoolHouse Institute

      Kathryn Kinnucan-Welsch, University of Dayton

      Catherine D. Krammer, Ursuline College

      Craig Kridel, University of South Carolina

      Edgar Krull, University of Tartu

      Debora L. Kuchey, Xavier University

      Adam Laats, Binghamton University (SUNY)

      Barbara Y. LaCost, University of, Nebraska–Lincoln

      Thomas J. Lasley II, University of Dayton

      Debra R. Lecklider, Butler University

      B. Lara Lee, Independent Scholar

      Catherine Loss, Vanderbilt University

      K. Alisa Lowrey, LSU Health Sciences Center

      Barbara J. Mallory, Georgia Southern University

      Suzanne Maniss, University of Tennessee at Martin

      Kathleen Joan Marshall, University of South Carolina

      Sylvia L. M. Martinez, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

      Donna Sue McCaw, Western Illinois University

      Lea McGee, Ohio State University

      Joseph McTighe, Council for American Private Education

      Natalia Mehlman-Petrzela, Stanford University l

      Martha Gallagher Michael, Ohio Dominican University

      Renee A. Middleton, Ohio University

      Heidi Mills, University of Southern California

      Daniel J. Milz, University of Cincinnati

      David Richard Moore, Ohio University

      William Morris, University of South Carolina

      Marge Blasy Mott, KnowledgeWorks Foundation

      Monalisa Mullins, University of Dayton

      A. S. Mu'min, Ohio University

      Frank B. Murray, Teacher Education Accreditation Council

      Nathan R. Myers, Ashland University

      James S. Norman, Virginia State University

      Ronald J. Nuzzi, University of Notre Dame

      Patrick Michael O'Donnell, University of Michigan

      Jack O'Gorman, University of Dayton

      Thomas Oldenski, University of Dayton

      Gay Su Pinnell, Ohio State University

      A. William Place, University of Dayton

      Robert E. Pohl, Keys to Improving Dayton Schools

      Delia Pompa, National Council of La Raza

      Stephen J. Provasnik, National Center for Education Statistics

      Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr., University of Miami

      Beth Nason Quick, University of Tennessee at Martin

      C. Daniel Raisch, University of Dayton

      Tania Ramalho, State University of New York at Oswego

      Vasanthi Rao, University of South Carolina

      Angel R. Rhodes, University of Dayton

      Mark Ribbing, Progressive Policy Institute

      Stephen B. Richards, University of Dayton

      Carolyn S. Ridenour, University of Dayton

      Diana Wyllie Rigden, Teacher Education Accreditation Council

      Carl Robinson, Miami University

      Mona C. Robinson, Ohio University

      Emily M. Rodgers, Ohio State University

      Barak V. Rosenshine, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

      James B. Rowley, University of Dayton

      Michael Rozalski, State University of New York at Geneseo

      A. G. Rud, Purdue University

      Charles J. Russo, University of Dayton

      Kevin Ryan, Boston University

      Mary-Kate Sableski, University of Dayton

      John R. Savery, University of Akron

      John Saylor, School Study Council of Ohio

      Kent Seidel, University of Denver

      Michael Joseph Sharp, University of Cincinnati

      Katharine Shepherd, University of Vermont

      Elena Silva, Education Sector

      Llewellyn Simmons, University of Dayton

      Samuel James Smith, Liberty University

      Tracey R. Smith, University of Dayton

      Tracy L. Steffes, Brown University

      Herbert L. Steffy, Lebanon Valley College

      Barbara S. Stengel, Millersville University

      Thomas M. Stephens, School Study Council of Ohio

      Doyle Stevick, University of South Carolina

      Xiaogeng Sun, Anchorage School District, Alaska

      Alison Jackson Tabor, University of Kentucky

      Bob Taft, University of Dayton

      Raymond Terrell, Miami University of Ohio

      Robert H. Thiede, Ashland University

      Christopher Tienken, Monroe Township Schools

      Beverly Tillman, University of Dayton

      Kim Tolley, Notre Dame de Namur University

      Jenny Susan Tripses, Bradley University

      M. Yvette Turner, Jackson State University

      James K. Uphoff, Wright State University

      Wayne J. Urban, University of Alabama

      Charles B. Vergon, Youngstown State University

      David C. Virtue, University of South Carolina

      Jennings L. Wagoner, Jr., University of Virginia

      Timothy Walch, Hoover Presidential Library

      Kate Walsh, National Council on Teacher Quality

      Andrea Walton, Indiana University

      Guofang Wan, Ohio University

      Ginger Weade, Ohio University

      Carol R. Werhan, Minnesota State University, Mankato

      John J. White, University of Dayton

      Alan Wieder, University of South Carolina

      Frankie Keels Williams, Clemson University

      Lisa Wills, University of South Carolina

      Kathleen G. Winterman, Xavier University

      Cheryl A. Wissick, University of South Carolina

      Mitchell L. Yell, University of South Carolina

      Pamela Cross Young, University of Dayton

      Victoria Zascavage, Xavier University

      Yanqiu Zheng, Indiana University

      Ginger L. Zierdt, Minnesota State, University, Mankato

      Judith A. Zimmerman, Bowling Green State University


      Educational reform, and to a lesser extent educational dissent, occupies a prominent place in the annals of American education. Whether based on religious, cultural, social, philosophical, or pedagogical grounds, educational reform and dissent have been ever-present in our educational history. At present there exist various forms of privatization, school choice (both within and without the public school structure), homeschooling, value-added accountability, alternative teacher and administrator preparation programs such as Teach For America, advocates for decentralization, supporters for online instruction, and the No Child Left Behind Act with a bevy of programs in its wake, to mention but a few.

      This range of activity in reform is not new. Consider the past: One sees progressive education, open education, the free school movement, the junior high school, the middle school, life adjustment education, career education, vocational education, the comprehensive high school, school-to-work programs, year-round schooling, behavioral objectives, proficiency exams (high-stakes testing), whole language, phonics, learning packages and self-paced instruction, modular scheduling, site-based management, and multicultural education, all put forth on pedagogical grounds with the aim of reforming the current educational practice of the day. Witness the government-initiated activities, including legislation such as the Smith-Hughes Act, science and math curricula emanating from the National Defense Education Act, the War on Poverty, and the actions motivated by A Nation at Risk. Turn your attention to the reformers themselves, who pushed for reform from different points of view, namely, Catharine Beecher, Susan Blow, James Bryant Conant, George Counts, John Dewey, W. E. B. Du Bois, Margaret Haley, John Holt, Mary Lyon, Admiral Hyman Rickover, and Booker T. Washington, all the way back to the “Father of Public Education” himself, Horace Mann. There are almost countless others, all advancing claims that their ideas will reform American education, if not entirely, at least in part.

      Dissenters, and dissenting movements, while not as numerous as reformers and certainly not as well known in educational circles, have always been present in the history of American education. There have been religious dissenters, beginning with the aggressive Catholic bishop of New York, John Hughes, in the 1840s; Presbyterian clergy, such as Robert L. Dabney, who contended that the civil state could not educate, that was the role of the church and family; and lesser-known figures in the Seventh-day Adventist and Lutheran churches, along with those who held for Jewish and Islamic schools, supporters of the Christian day school movement and many advocates of homeschooling. But dissent from government-controlled schooling is not limited to religious persons and movements. Libertarians and “free market” supporters dissent as well, but from a different viewpoint. They join the ranks of dissenters, along with a host of others.

      Clearly, this topic is one that is rich with ideas, rife with controversy, and vital in its outcome for school patrons, educators, and the nation as a whole. And yet, strangely enough, there exists no major reference work that brings the strands of reform and reformers, dissent and dissenters, together in one place as a resource for scholars, teachers, policymakers, parents, and students, including those who are studying to enter the teaching profession. This work is intended to be that authoritative resource. General topics and broad themes covered within its pages include the following:

      • Biographies of Reformers and Dissenters
      • Theoretical and Ideological Perspectives
      • Key Movements, Programs, and Legislation
      • Court Cases and Judicial Verdicts Impacting Educational Change in the United States
      • Dissent and Resistance to Reforms
      • Technology's Impact on Educational Reform

      In their introduction to their recent text, The Dissenting Tradition in American Education, James C. Carper and Thomas C. Hunt discuss the importance of reform and dissent in American education. They point out how reformers and dissenters become significant culture-shaping people in changing the way our lives are conducted and influenced. These culture-shapers have impacted the lives of those who lived in the past with regard to education and continue to do so today. They, and the movements they initiated and maintained, have often changed the way we think about education and its role in individuals' and the nation's lives. They have restructured our schools and have significantly altered the way we evaluate education and its effectiveness.

      Generally, reformers and dissenters have advanced their novel ideas with the goal of improving existing educational structures and practice. Although some reforms have been presented as a remedy for all of society's ills, most such programs have been aimed at practical transformation of the existing system to ensure that each child might have a better opportunity to acquire the intellectual and social capital to enable them to succeed in U.S. society. The dissenting movements, often identified with religious reformers, have in some instances called for the establishment of a new paradigm for the conduct of precollegiate education in the United States.

      The encyclopedia is organized in an A-to-Z format. Additionally, the volume editors have prepared a Reader's Guide that groups entries around themes or specific topic areas that will allow readers interested in those themes or topics the opportunity to find relevant related entries more easily. There are 20 such topics or themes, and the See also section at the end of most entries will assist the enthusiastic reader in navigating this two-volume set in an effort to find related topics.

      The Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent was a colossal undertaking. After nearly 2 years of work, more than 225 professors, practitioners, and association officials contributed to the nearly 450 entries. The contributors came from nearly 100 universities, colleges, and organizations representing nearly a quarter of U.S. states. Their task was to describe the reform and dissent found in theories, concepts, ideas, writings, research, and practice in schools and colleges past and present.

      The creation of the encyclopedia was born out of a desire to fill a void in the literature that summarizes the vast areas of educational reform and dissent. The editors summoned a select group of scholars to serve as advisory board members, whose primary responsibility was to recommend headwords that lend themselves to the areas of reform and dissent while covering a wide range of educational topics.

      The initial list of entries came from lists provided by the advisory board, the editors, lists compiled from entries found in current texts, and other sources provided by SAGE. The editors also consulted specialized texts representing such areas as administration, teaching, curriculum, education research, school finance, school law, and staff personnel in their effort to create an authoritative, definitive list of entries that would capture the major areas of education reform and dissent.

      In addition, the advisory board members were asked to submit or write on topics in their areas of expertise and recommend other scholars who could write on specific topics. The advisory board recommended nearly 100 scholars, each of whom wrote, on average, three entries. The majority of the remaining entries were written by experts solicited through various special interest groups.

      The ideas, thoughts, research, people, organizations, and theories presented in this encyclopedia are what the editors and their advisors believe to be the key topics associated with significant dissent and reform in education. They test our opinions, positively or negatively. They trace the history of educational thought and action. They describe problems and promise. They embrace and reject; they reveal fact and belief. They shape us.


      The history of American education is replete with reformers' efforts to improve existing practice and with the struggles of dissenters against the status quo. In some instances, reforms have been proposed as a panacea; however, most of the individuals and movements advocating reform have sought change not for the sake of change, but to transform the current situation so that each child might have a better opportunity at possessing the intellectual and social capital that it was the schools' mission to impart. Dissenters and their movements, however, have called for significant structural reforms, or, in some instances, the establishment of a new paradigm for the conduct of precollegiate education in the United States. Religious groups, and their leaders, have made up a significant portion of dissenters.

      Colonial and Revolutionary Periods

      The origins of American education are commonly traced back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the first half of the 17th century. This account is not entirely correct, as Catholic schools in what is now the state of Florida predated the educational actions of the Puritans in Massachusetts. Nonetheless, Massachusetts was the site of early educational activity, including that of a reforming nature. As early as the 1640s, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted legislation that made parents and guardians responsible for their children's education, and sometimes included masters for their apprentices. The famous Old Deluder Satan Law, passed in 1647, required communities to provide instruction for primary and secondary (Latin grammar) schools, under certain conditions.

      There were other reforms in the colonial era. Dame schools, where a literate woman “kept” school, were provided in some instances. Generally, the distinction between public and private, which took on critical dimensions in the 19th century, was blurred at best. Schooling reforms in the South generally lagged behind those which were extant in New England and the Middle Colonies and at times were prohibited by law for slaves. Local control of schooling prevailed throughout the colonies and in the early decades of the union.

      Textbooks were rare. The most widely used were the Bible, The New England Primer, and Noah Webster's Speller. Texts, along with teachers, were charged with helping students achieve basic literacy in reading and writing, in character building, and in catechizing students.

      Educational reforms increased as the revolution neared. Thomas Jefferson, motivated by Enlightenment ideas, authored his bill for the “General Diffusion of Knowledge,” which called for state-sponsored, universal schooling, for White children for 3 years, with additional “secondary” schooling for selected boys in grammar schools. His rationale: Universal literacy was necessary for the common good in a republican form of government. Others joined Jefferson in his quest for educational reform. Benjamin Franklin opted for widespread schooling and recommended “practical” rather than classical schooling at the secondary level. Benjamin Rush felt that schooling should produce moral individuals and would do that if carried out under Christian auspices, with special reliance on the New Testament. Finally, Noah Webster, called the “Schoolmaster to America,” stood for a moral education that would produce true patriots who would live up to the ethical ideals of citizens in a democracy.

      Charity Schools

      The early years of the 19th century witnessed the beginnings of the move to educate an ever-increasing percentage of the youth, especially in the cities. At first, these reforming “charity schools” were operated under the monitorial method of Joseph Lancaster and supported philanthropically.

      New York City was the scene of what Diane Ravitch has called the “first school war” over these schools. There the New York Free School Society, a private group composed of leading Protestant citizens who were given tax money for their Society, provided schooling for the urban poor, who were heavily Catholic and Irish. The Society's texts, practices, and staff were overwhelmingly anti-Catholic. Led by their aggressive bishop, John Hughes, Catholics protested the orientation and operation of these schools. Hughes was unsuccessful in his fight to gain a share of tax money for Catholic schools. The result of the contest was twofold: first, the beginning of the trend to a secular education, something that Hughes could not have favored, so he won what some have called a “pyrrhic victory”; and second, the origins of the dissenting Catholic parochial school system in the United States.

      Meanwhile in the South, Jefferson's ideas received a mixed reception. In many instances the status quo remained, where schooling served as a private venture and the schooling of Blacks, free and slave, was at times prohibited by law. In Virginia in 1817, Charles Fenton Mercer, a Federalist who had become a Whig, called for a free primary system of schooling for all White children to be established throughout the state, with academies, and then a state university, to follow. Mercer's ideas were opposed by Jefferson for two reasons: First, the primary schools were to be supported and regulated at the state level. Jefferson wanted that control to reside at the local level. Second, Jefferson was convinced that Mercer's reforming plan, if adopted, would exhaust the state treasury and the state university would never come into existence. Thus, in what has to be an irony of considerable magnitude, Jefferson, regarded as a champion of educational reform and public education, was responsible for the defeat of a bill that would have provided universal (for White children) free public schooling in the state.

      The Rise of the Common School

      The 1820s and 1830s witnessed the beginnings of the move to educate an ever-increasing percentage of the youth, under the belief that a republic required widespread literacy in its population. That reforming movement was not universally subscribed to; it had opponents, and it also took on different forms.

      Massachusetts and Connecticut were among the leaders in the push for tax-supported common schooling. Under Whig and Unitarian influence, leaders like Horace Mann in Massachusetts and Henry Barnard in Connecticut spearheaded the common school movement. Supposedly nonsectarian Christian, the common school was praised by its adherents as promising an end to social problems such as crime and poverty, and it was looked to as the creator of social harmony in society. Mann and his colleagues claimed the common school was religious; after all, it featured the devotional reading of the King James version of the Bible, but it was not sectarian. The state needed, they averred, the uniting, beneficial actions of the common school in an increasingly industrial society, in which divisions of wealth and poverty were on the rise.

      Efforts to control the education of teachers for the public schools also underwent reform. Teachers were usually prepared in week-long institutes and provided with annual contracts. Beginning in Massachusetts in the late 1830s, the preparation of teachers sometimes occurred in normal schools. These schools were set up solely to prepare teachers for work in the primary schools, and the preparation was usually of 2 years' duration. Teacher institutes were the most common form of teacher education. Usually conducted for practicing teachers, they were held for brief periods of time and were prevalent in rural areas. They were aimed mainly at the improvement of teachers in service, not for initial teacher preparation.

      John Hughes has been called the driving force in the creation of dissenting Catholic parochial schools. He was not alone in that dissent, however. As early as 1840 the Catholic bishops of the United States, gathered in Council, warned Catholic parents of the dangers of perversion of faith for their children by attendance at the Protestant-dominated public primary schools. They urged them to do their utmost to provide a Catholic schooling for their offspring, which could be obtained only in Catholic parochial (parish) schools. The bishops were mildly successful in their urgings to establish dissenting Catholic schools.

      The Civil War and Reconstruction

      The Civil War had many effects on American society, some of which concerned schooling. Educational reforms, in the North and South, were proposed and implemented. Dissenters and dissenting movements increased, at least in part, as responses to some of the reforms.

      The Civil War led to a sense of nationalism in the North with a consequent emphasis on patriotism. Public schools were looked to as incubators for good citizens. School districts were organized, administrative officers were appointed, and universal taxation for compulsory attendance was put into place. Public school reformers, arguing that public school attendance was necessary for good citizenship, often took hostile stances toward private schools, especially those that were religiously affiliated. This hostility sometimes took on a legal posture, as happened in Wisconsin and Illinois in the 1880s. The Wisconsin experience is illustrative of the conflict between the state reformers, who believed that public schools and the use of the English language were necessary to inculcate good citizenship in the students, and the Catholic and Lutheran dissenters. Concerned with (a) the failure of private schools, almost entirely Catholic and Lutheran, many of which were extensions of German American congregations; (b) reported attendance rates to the state superintendent's office; and (c) the alleged failure of many of these schools to use the English language in instruction, the state of Wisconsin passed the Bennett Law in 1889. A mighty political battle ensued: The Catholic and Lutheran dissenters prevailed, and the state reformers lost.

      Demographic changes in the composition of a state's population contributed to conflicts over the role of religion in schools as well. Dissenters challenged the compromise reached by Horace Mann and other common school reformers that utilized the devotional reading of the King James version of the Bible without comment in the allegedly non-sectarian common school, which was gradually losing adherents and gaining opponents as the 19th century progressed. Finally, in 1890, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a case brought by Catholic dissenters, ruled that the practice of Bible reading was sectarian instruction and thus was unconstitutional. Catholics were joined in their successful challenge to the ascendancy of mainstream Protestantism in Wisconsin's schools by Unitarians and liberals. The expulsion of the Bible from the schools may be seen as a reform by those, growing in number at this time, who held forth for a secular public school.

      Educational reform was widespread throughout the land during the second half of the 19th century. To rejoin the Union, the defeated states of the Confederacy were required to adopt public schooling. Furious battles were fought between those reformers—such as William Henry Ruffner in Virginia, who, supported by Barnas Sears and the Peabody Fund, called for racially segregated public schools as the only viable alternative for the South—and their opponents. Some of these opponents called for mixed-race schools, while other dissenters opposed the very idea of public schooling, usually arguing that education was a private responsibility of the family and not the business of the civil state. Following the departure of the Union army after Reconstruction, racially separate schools were the rule for the freedmen in the South. Allegedly equal as well as separate, these schools embodied educational “reform” in the South, and the practice was ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896.

      Much of the American public agreed to compulsory schooling at the elementary or primary level. Secondary schooling was a different matter, however. It was in 1874 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that state-supported public schooling received a major endorsement. Though limited in jurisdiction to the state of Michigan, the Kalamazoo decision nonetheless contributed to public school reformers' belief that it was civil society's responsibility to see to the secondary schooling of American youth by mandatory taxation and compulsory attendance.

      This period in American history also was a time of reforms imported from Europe. Ideas taken from the educational philosophy of Johann Pestalozzi (1746–1827), Johann Herbart (1776–1841), and Friedrich Froebel (1782–1837) merit consideration as educational reforms. Pestalozzi borrowed from the thinking of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and implemented some of Rousseau's ideas in schools. Teacher-training institutions, in particular, were sites for Pestalozzi's thinking. Pestalozzi's theory espoused educating the whole child and that what children became was more important than what they learned.

      Herbart's reforming pedagogical thinking, that character formation should be the major focus of every school, also found a home in normal schools. Teachers were to discover what a child's interests were and then lead the child from the known to the unknown. Methodology was crucial, and the successful teacher would follow five steps, no matter what subject was being taught. Herbart's pedagogy contributed to emphasizing method over content in teaching in American education.

      Froebel is known as the founder of the kindergarten movement. Seen as a booster of informal education, Froebel preached the educational value of children's play. The kindergarten movement gradually assumed national proportions, with Massachusetts one of its leading proponents.

      Catholic schools were the major dissenting institutions in the nation during this period. Abetted by ethnicity, especially German, the Catholic Church endeavored to provide parish elementary schools for its children. Often poor, Catholics found it difficult to follow their bishops' admonitions, made alone and in Council, that they send their children to the parish schools. In the latter years of the 19th century, it was the secular orientation of public schools rather than their earlier pan-Protestant character that occasioned Catholic dissent.

      The Progressive Era

      The late 1800s and the early 1900s have sometimes been referred to as the Progressive era. It was a time during which the nation and its schools underwent significant changes. In the case of the schools, many of these changes were presented and regarded as reforms.

      During the 1880s the public high schools surpassed the academies in terms of enrollment. As high schools grew in number, problems of articulation with the colleges multiplied. The task of preparing students for college became increasingly difficult, as colleges had their own entrance requirements, which often differed from one another. This situation led to the creation of the National Education Association Committee of Ten in 1891, with the specific charge of seeking some standardization and uniformity in college entrance requirements.

      The Committee's reforming recommendations called for four parallel courses of study in high school, with the graduates of each qualifying for admission to college. The key curriculum differentiation was how much foreign language was included in each course. The Committee did not distinguish between college preparatory and noncollege, holding that good preparation for college was good preparation for life, and vice versa.

      The Committee of Ten's actions have been called “moderate revisionist” by some. They were not accepted by all, and, in fact, were strongly opposed by advocates of separate vocational education and by the classics professors. The former wanted separate vocational schools, based on the European model; the latter inveighed against the declining emphasis on the classical languages and the practice of equating modern foreign languages with Latin and Greek.

      Other significant reform activity involved the high school at this time. The College Entrance Examination Board was started, and the regional accrediting agencies were formed and operated (e.g., the North Central Association). In both instances the groups were strong advocates for reforming secondary education.

      In addition to economic instability, migration of people from the farm to the city, and political corruption and urban decay, the impetus for educational reform received a major push with the arrival on the nation's shores of millions of immigrants between 1891 and 1920, many of whom came from southern and eastern Europe and were deemed less “desirable” by American nativists. These newly arrived people tended to settle in the nation's rapidly exploding cities. By 1910 over one-half of the population of the northeastern seaboard states was either foreign born or had at least one parent who was foreign born. Their arrival led to the spawning of “patriotic” groups who looked to the public schools to reform (i.e., “Americanize”) their children. Public school educators, such as Ellwood P. Cubberley, joined in the chorus of calling for “civilizing” actions to be taken to assimilate this “horde” of youngsters, who in 1909 made up 57.8% of the students in 37 of the nation's largest cities.

      Compulsory attendance laws, which some reformers believed necessary to produce good citizens, had been on the books in the United States (beginning with the state of Massachusetts) since 1852. The immigrant children were taught English and other personal traits such as good citizenship and cleanliness, to the extent that the school sometimes became a foster parent to the children. The schools were not always humane in their treatment of these youngsters, and people like Jane Addams, the Chicago Hull House reformer, sought to alleviate the tensions that developed between some immigrant cultures and American society as represented by the public schools. Some American officials made it clear that the reform of the immigrant families depended on the school as the “hub” of their acculturation and assimilation. Addams, and others, complained that in some instances the reforming actions of the public schools, in their anxiety to Americanize the children, were demeaning the culture of the immigrants and widening the gap between immigrant parents and their children.

      Education reform proceeded consistently and constantly throughout the Progressive era. Diversification of the curriculum was viewed as a reform by some. At first, often based on the socio-economic status of the parents, children were placed in different “tracks” in schools. This practice led to a new field—vocational guidance—because someone had to identify in which curriculum track the children should be placed. This practice led to a movement called “social efficiency,” which held that the child should be subordinated to society with as little waste as possible through curriculum differentiation in schools. It was but a small step from this posture to reliance on testing, both intelligence and achievement, to achieve these goals. Barriers such as unfamiliarity with the language were deemed of slight consequence in the use of intelligence tests to determine the native intellect of students. Individuals such as Edward L. Thorndike (the leader of the testing movement) and Lewis M. Terman (the father of the gifted program) were in the forefront of this reform movement.

      Social efficiency led to other educational reforms as well. School administrators, who managed the school business much as a corporate executive did a large corporation, were highly praised, yet also criticized by both business leaders and educators respectively. Frederick W. Taylor, although not an educator, was at the top of the list in this group, called “administrative Progressives” in the literature. Indeed, “Taylorism” has gone down in history as a top-down or structural reform. John Franklin Bobbitt was at the head of curriculum managers, who, based on testing, led the program that gave to students as much subject matter as social efficiency advocates thought they could absorb.

      The moderate reforms in secondary education, such as the addition of home economics and shop, recommended by the Committee of Ten proved to be of short duration. Before the onset of World War I, the National Education Association had charged another committee to address the current needs of the American high school. Formally named the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education, it was popularly identified with the title of its report, “Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education.” This body identified seven objectives (they were not principles) that should guide secondary education reform. Reporting in 1918, the Commission urged that these objectives inform the modification of the high school curriculum. Ironically, only one of the objectives (the command of fundamental processes) was intellectual. The remaining objectives, such as “worthy home membership,” “worthy use of leisure time,” “vocation,” and “health,” envisioned a broadened social role for the high school as evidenced by a more diversified curriculum and expanded extracurricular activities. The American comprehensive high school is the concrete result of this reform movement.

      But this reform was not enough for ardent social efficiency reformers. They opted for strict curriculum differentiation, in separate schools, if possible. Thus the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 was passed, in which selected vocational programs received government support. The ideal, some “reformers” of this time maintained, was to separate the youth in separate institutions, in accord with their future life's work. When should this separation occur? These reformers thought that the seventh grade was the appropriate time and that eighth grade in a conventional school was a waste of time, thus giving birth to the junior high school. The norm, however, in most sections of the country, was the comprehensive high school.

      In 1910 slightly over 90% of Blacks lived in the South. Two leaders of Black education emerged as the 19th century became the 20th—Booker T. Washington, who had begun his career at the night school at Hampton Institute, and the Harvard-educated W. E. B. Du Bois. Each called for reform in the education of the freedmen, but with different emphases. Washington urged cooperation with southern Whites and seemed to favor industrial education for the freedmen. Du Bois, on the other hand, preached focusing on “The Talented Tenth” of Blacks and pushed for a liberal education for them. He felt that Washington accepted the status quo in society, which placed Black people in subservient positions to Whites.

      Catholic schools remained the largest dissenting entity during this era. Catholic schools, however, experienced only slight growth as the century neared its end, the decrees of individual bishops and decrees of Councils notwithstanding. In the 1890s the American Catholic hierarchy became engaged in what has been called “the School Question,” which centered on the need for the Catholic dissent. The strife became so serious that it took the direct intervention of Pope Leo XIII to settle the controversy, approving a gradual movement toward the Americanization of Catholic schools.

      It is not possible to deal with educational reform in the World War I period without discussing the Progressive movement. Progressive education took on a number of forms. The Progressive Education Association (PEA) was one prominent exponent of progressive education. Formed by an alliance of educators and laypersons, the PEA stood for the upholding of children's freedom and emphasized creativity in schooling. The most famous of Progressive educators was John Dewey. At one point Dewey criticized the PEA for its “aimless wandering,” taking it to task for lack of rigor. Dewey looked to the schools as microcosms of democracy, providing the example and the impetus for the reform of society. Schools would reform society by producing critical thinkers who, as adults, would make their own decisions. Espousing a lifelong quest for unity, Dewey refused to blueprint what the reformed society would look like. Education, he believed, was a lifelong process, with the properly prepared teacher a sine qua non for learning and reform to occur.

      The South witnessed its version of Progressivism during this period, especially in dealing with its rural Black citizens. Reforming philanthropic foundations, such as the Jeanes Fund and the Rosenwald Fund, were set up ostensibly to raise the standard of living by southern Blacks and constitute a reform of sorts. These reforms followed the Hampton-Tuskegee model and accepted and endorsed the industrial model of education for Blacks, which called for their subservience to Whites.

      Education between the Wars

      The PEA continued into the 1920s and beyond. As the 1920s passed, the PEA became identified more and more with left-wing American life in the minds of some. Child-rearing materials for parents were one illustration of this tendency. There was a growing concern within some segments of the PEA that the movement had become too individualistic.

      It was this individualistic tendency that George Counts assailed in his Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order? Counts, a social reconstructionist (person who focuses on social issues that affect students' lives), identified what he termed the “fallacies” of child-centered school. The question for the reformer Counts was How do the progressive schools become truly progressive? He answered his question with the statement that teachers must assert political and social force in society. It was not enough, he maintained, to study contemporary society; students must be given the vision of what society should be like and then enlist their aid in attaining that vision.

      Counts was not alone in advancing socialist views. Harold Rugg was another of the leaders advocating a more potent role for the school in society. In 1933 the PEA, shifting some of its attention to secondary education, conducted the Eight-Year Study. This Eight-Year Study group, under the leadership of Wilfred Aiken, a headmaster of a school in St. Louis, compared experimental schools with traditional schools, both public and private, in their effectiveness in preparing students for college. Attention in this reform strategy was focused on the curriculum, with emphasis on core classes. The core replaced the traditional subjects of English and social studies. Electives supplemented the core. The results, published in 1941, showed little difference in terms of academic success between the graduates of experimental schools, both public and private, with their traditional counterparts, but the experimental graduates surpassed their traditional counterparts in the affective realm.

      The 1930s witnessed other educational reforms. The New Deal, under the leadership of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, established the National Youth Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps to work with youth of secondary school age and older. The former was nonresidential, the latter residential. In the former, young people of lower socioeconomic status were given jobs to escape unemployment. In the latter, young men were placed in camps, were given basic literacy drills, and worked and lived under military discipline.

      World War II, and the “red scare” after it, led to a suspicion of, and antagonism toward, anything “foreign.” Anything German smacked of unpatriotic orientation, if not behavior, and was construed as “un-American.” The Ku Klux Klan experienced a revival, this time in the North, and saw Catholics, primarily, and Jews, secondly, as threats to the “American way.” Dissenting parochial schools, both Catholic and Lutheran, especially those with a German clientele, were regarded as especially dangerous. The U.S. Supreme Court was called on to stop the harassment of a Lutheran schoolteacher, Robert Meyer, who tutored a boy in German, in violation of the laws of the state of Nebraska in 1923. Then, in 1925, in a major decision, the Court ruled that the state of Oregon had violated the Fourteenth Amendment rights of an order of Catholic nun-teachers and Hill Military Academy when it ordered that every child in Oregon between the ages of 8 and 16 must attend public school on the grounds that private schools were divisive and public school attendance was necessary for citizenship. The child, the Court averred in a precedent-setting case, was not the “mere creature of the state”; parents, not the civil state, were the primary educators of children.

      The National Education Association and the American Association of School Administrators made a major contribution to educational reform when, in 1935, they formed the Educational Policies Commission. This commission, which was to endure until the late 1960s, made reports, usually on an annual basis, that focused on the role of the public school in a democracy. Leading citizens, such as Dwight Eisenhower and James Bryant Conant were among the members of the Commission, which emphasized the preeminent importance of citizenship in a democratic society and the indispensable role the public school played in forming that citizenship.

      World War II and its Immediate Aftermath

      The onset of World War II had serious consequences for American education, especially higher education and to some extent secondary education. As early as March 1942 the title of the publication of the Education Department of the federal government was changed from School Life to Education for Victory. Its purpose now was to bring to the public important official announcements, timely reports on selected educational programs during wartime, plans that were vital to education, information on war and defense efforts that affected education, in short, to be the mouthpiece of the government's educational commission in what the government considered “educational reform.”

      Schools were reminded that war service came first, and educators were advised that they should regard wartime educational programs as a distinguished patriotic service. Teacher training, out-of-school volunteer activities by teachers and students, adaptations to the curriculum—especially the secondary curriculum, promotion of physical fitness, and advancement of vocational training to war industries—were cited as challenges that called for reform. Schools were encouraged to have Victory Gardens, to help raise funds for the wartime effort, and to promote intelligent citizenship. New units in social studies were made available, such as “A Study of Latin America” and “What We and They Stand For.” Physics and mathematics were to take their problems from war needs; vocational courses, such as industrial arts, were to do likewise. War-driven reform would require the curtailment of some traditional educational activities.

      At the end of the war, educators looked to a new reform at the secondary level—life adjustment education. Headed by a veteran vocational educator, Charles A. Prosser, life adjustment educators highlighted the preparation for living as the overriding goal of secondary education. Initially, life adjustment education targeted the alleged 60% of secondary school students who did not intend to go on to college or to technical school, by 1948 it had enlarged its aim to include all students, to equip them with the skills to live a fulfilling life as individuals and citizens. All of the subjects were called to the bar to demonstrate how they contributed to the students' future life adjustment. A feeling existed among some professional educators that life adjustment reform was so compelling that nothing could ever dislodge it.

      Not all American educators were swayed by the “democratic” endorsements of life adjustment. The Council for Basic Education, for instance, with historian Arthur Bestor as one of its leaders, was highly critical of what it believed was the anti-intellectual stance of life adjustment.

      The late 1940s witnessed the growing tensions over educational dissenters, many who were faith based. In 1947, the Supreme Court of the United States, in the closest of margins (a 5–4 vote) upheld the New Jersey statute that allowed pupils to be transported to dissenting schools at public expense. Meanwhile, some Americans were fearful that the public schools had strayed too far from what they believed were the schools' nonsectarian Christian religious underpinnings, a fear that was exacerbated by the cold war tensions with the officially atheistic Soviet Union. Reform was once again called for that provided religious instruction to be made more readily available to public school students, via released time. First, in 1948, the high Court ruled such a practice unconstitutional because it took place on public school grounds. Then, in 1952, it permitted the practice, because it took place off school property.

      The Academic Counterrevolution and Sputnik

      As noted in the previous section, Bestor and his group had begun the academic counterrevolution. Establishment of organizations, such as the National Science Foundation, continued the academic reform movement. It was, however, the orbiting of a space capsule, Sputnik, by the Soviet Union in the fall of 1957 that gave the major impetus to the academic counterrevolution. In 1958, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act, which gave federal support to the study of science and mathematics and bemoaned the “insufficient proportion” of students in these programs in American schools. Identification of the gifted (in mathematics and science) became the major focus of school counselors. Other forms of assistance, such as grants, scholarships, and loans, to teachers and students were also made available in this reform movement.

      The national fear of Soviet supremacy led to recognition of two Americans, James Bryant Conant and Admiral Hyman Rickover, as reform leaders. Conant, former president of Harvard University and commissioner to West Germany, did more to “save” the comprehensive high school than any other American. In his report The American High School Today, funded by the Carnegie Foundation, Conant identified reforms that he said were needed in American secondary education. These reforms emphasized appropriate intellectual challenges to, and opportunities for, bright students in American high schools. Strict ability grouping, or tracking, with the exception of senior social studies and homeroom, were features of Conant's academic recommendations.

      Admiral Rickover, a national hero, was called on to address the educational crisis before Congress. Rickover emphasized how critically important improved education was for the survival of the United States in this global conflict with the Soviet Union. Focus on gifted students was the top priority for Rickover, including the establishment of special schools for the gifted, allowing the comprehensive high school only in the case that strict ability grouping would be maintained.

      Civil Rights and the War on Poverty: An Egalitarian and Tumultuous Era

      In 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the 1896 decision in the Plessy v. Ferguson case that had established the “separate but equal” principle. The decision, known as Brown I, ruled that government-mandated segregation by race was intrinsically wrong and always unconstitutional. A year later, in Brown II, the Court ordered the dismantling of de jure segregated educational facilities with “all deliberate speed.” The decade of the 1960s was to feature civil rights issues and the War on Poverty.

      Many educational reform actions were spawned by the civil rights movement and War on Poverty. One of the first was the Job Corps, created in the image of the Civilian Conservation Corps of Depression times. Job Corps included educational and work-training programs. Young people were given literacy instruction and skill development experience in residential settings. The Congress of the United States passed the Economic Opportunity Act in 1964, which reflected Jefferson's belief that students from little financial means might well reach the top academic heights. Congress also passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, which was signed into law by then-president Lyndon Johnson. The Civil Rights Act was crucial in the establishment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, in which the federal government became a major player in educational affairs in the United States. The major feature of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was Title I, which provided educational assistance to children of low-income families. In 1964 the Office of Economic Opportunity created Head Start, an agency to benefit young children from economically deprived families.

      The year 1966 witnessed the most massive study of American education in its history: sociologist James Coleman's Equality of Educational Opportunity, which was both mandated and funded by Congress. Coleman found that the presence of middle- or upper-class children in classrooms with lower-class children was the key component to the latter's improved educational achievements. The achievement gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” if separated in school, Coleman reported, increased as they progressed through school. He also found that family background was more critical to explaining educational attainment than were school resources, such as teacher experience. Coleman's research led to the busing of schoolchildren to achieve racial balance.

      In 1967, New York City was the scene of civil strife that included a teachers' strike. The conflict has become known as the community control struggle. Minorities in the Ocean Hill–Brownsville district sought to receive the funds from the New York City central office to operate the public schools in their area. They also sought control over the curriculum and authority over all professional personnel. Some minority leaders averred that these measures were required for the educational success by Black children; they did not need to have desegregated classrooms. Ultimately, community control advocates failed in their reforming attempt to overhaul the status quo. There were certainly other significant issues that communities had to deal with in order to make their schools safe and effective. Race riots occurred in a number of U.S. cities in 1967. These riots led to the federal government conducting a major study as to social and economic conditions in U.S. cities. The 1968 report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders identified a number of social problems, including inferior educational opportunities in the nation's central cities. Recommendations for reform were advanced, such as better prepared teachers who have a positive attitude toward the inner-city children they teach.

      Ferment was occurring in other sectors of the American educational world in the 1960s. The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed school-sponsored prayer in 1962 and followed that up in 1963 with a ban on devotional Bible reading, even if voluntary, in the public schools. The schools, the Court reasoned, were to be religiously neutral and were not permitted to either advance or inhibit religion. The cumulative impact of these decisions told conservative Christians that the schools, which a century before had reflected their posture, now were no longer God centered and were officially secular. Whereas liberals may have called these decisions reforming, conservative Christians were more likely to call them catastrophic. They led to the dissenting Christian day school movement.

      Meanwhile the Catholic schools, by far the largest dissenting body, experienced their peak in enrollment in 1965–1966 with 5.6 million pupils in elementary and secondary schools, making up 87% of non–public school enrollment in the nation. Internal turmoil had begun a few years earlier, with the convening of the Second Vatican Council by Pope John XXIII in the fall of 1962 and with the publication of Mary Perkins Ryan's Are Parochial Schools the Answer? Catholic Education in the Light of the Council. Ryan answered her question in the negative, claiming that the schools were necessary for a poor, besieged, immigrant population in the 19th century but now these clerical-dominated institutions were anachronistic. These events were accompanied by two important demographic changes: first, the departure of many vowed religious women and men from their educational ministry, which necessitated the hiring of lay teachers that brought considerable extra expense to the operation of the schools. (The percentage of vowed religious in Catholic school education declined from over 56% in 1968–1969 to just under 25% in 1981–1982.) The second factor was the population shift of Catholics to the suburbs from the central cities with their ethnic parish schools. Those two factors were accompanied by a loss of the sense of necessity of the schools, as Catholics became a part of mainstream America. Catholic school enrollment plummeted to just over 4 million in 1971–1972 to slightly more than 3 million a decade later.

      The Christian Day School Emerges

      Evangelical Protestants in the latter half of the 19th century had been satisfied with what the Protestant historian William B. Kennedy has called the “Parallel Institutions Strategy” whereby the common school, with its devotional Bible reading, prayers, hymns, and Protestant educational personnel, combined with the denominational Sunday school to educate the young. Disturbed by the secular trend in public schooling as witnessed in the Scopes “Monkey Trial” in the 1920s, evangelical Protestants were further dismayed by two decisions of the Supreme Court. The first of these, Engel v. Vitale in 1962, outlawed mandatory prayer in public schools. The second, School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, handed down by the Court in 1963, banned voluntary devotional Bible reading in the nation's schools. While these decisions did not by themselves cause the departure of many evangelical Christians from the public schools and the creation of the Christian day school in their stead, they certainly symbolized the “de-Protestantization” of the nation's public schools and communicated to evangelical Protestants that the public schools were no longer God centered.

      Determining the exact number of schools and the number of students enrolled in these schools in the 1960s and 1970s is not possible because some of them did not belong to any association and even more do not report their enrollment to any official government body. They remain a major dissenting educational group.

      The 1970s: School Financing, Romantic Critics, Revisionists, and More

      The War on Poverty spilled over into reforms of school finance. The California Supreme Court called attention to the importance of schooling for an individual's chance of “making it” in American society and ruled in Serrano v. Priest (1971) that the method of financing public schools with its heavy dependence on property taxes, was working against the poor and hence was unconstitutional. This decision expanded the school finance reform movement that continues to this day. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed with the Serrano ruling in School District of San Antonio v. Rodriguez, ruling that San Antonio's method of financing public schools, based heavily on property tax, did not violate the federal constitutional rights of the poor. Furthermore, the Court said that it was up to the state legislature to remedy faulty education financial funding, thus placing the responsibility for school funding reform squarely in the hand of the states. Arguments calling for reform in how schools were supported continued to swirl in educational circles, including the roles of the various levels of government. The property tax, historically the mainstay of local support for schools, was viewed by many financial reformers as anachronistic and was drastically in need of reform.

      School desegregation remained high on the visibility chart for reform. The Supreme Court of the United States ordered cross-busing of students in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg (North Carolina) in 1971 to dismantle a school system that it said was as segregated in 1971 as it was in 1954 when the Brown decision was handed down.

      The spirit of reform that was in the air in the 1960s endured into the 1970s. The so-called romantic critics, led by reformer Paul Goodman, who argued that the public school system was fundamentally flawed, and included John Holt, Herbert Kohl, Charles Silberman, Jonathan Kozol, George Dennison, Ivan Illich, and Joseph Featherstone chastised the schools for a variety of sins, among them regimented, lock-step procedures. The open education philosophy, which maintained that every human had the desire to learn, that learning was basically an attitude, and that it lasted throughout life, was one tangible manifestation of these critics' ideas. Also included in their platform was the “free” or “new school” movement, which was either pedagogical and middle-class oriented, along the lines of the thinking of A. S. Neill, or political, a view espoused by Kozol, who argued on behalf of the lower classes, especially minorities. Schools as they presently existed were seriously deficient in the eyes of these reformers.

      At roughly the same time, the revisionist movement in educational history appeared on the scene. Attacking what they saw as the “house history” of administrator Ellwood P. Cubberley and his colleagues, who viewed education as coterminous with public schooling and as the essential ingredient to American democracy, revisionists took Cubberley and his colleagues to task for a false rendering of American educational history. They maintained that the interpretation that all education took place in institutions, and that public education, as portrayed in Cubberley and colleagues' works was the means whereby any boy or girl who had the brains and the fortitude could “make it” in American society was simply false. First found in the writings of Bernard Bailyn and then especially in those of Lawrence Cremin, the cultural revisionists, as they were known, said Cubberley's definition of education was too narrow; other agencies, such as the home, the workplace, and the church also provided education. It was the work of Colin Greer, Michael Katz, and Clarence Karier that severely chastised the “administrative historians” such as Cubberley. Known as social or radical revisionists, these authors sought reform in the teaching of American educational history by focusing on primary sources, in the process contending that the public schools were anything but democratic and essential to democracy. Rather, they maintained, they fostered social stratification in one's class, and were not the ladder by which a youthful citizen could climb to success in American society. The poor, especially the minority poor, were victimized by the Cubberley rhetoric, these dissenters/reformers asserted.

      Educational dissenters experienced failures and successes in the early 1970s. In 1971 the Supreme Court dealt a serious blow to the hopes of those who stood for the rights of dissenters to receive financial assistance from government in the education of their children. In cases that hailed from Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, the Court ruled the “purchase of secular services” practice in those states unconstitutional because they violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment through “excessive entanglement” between church and state. The next year, in 1972, the Supreme Court upheld the Free Exercise First Amendment rights of the Amish in Wisconsin v. Yoder, a case that dealt with compulsory school attendance legislation. Particularly appealing to dissenters were the words of Chief Justice Warren Burger that parents, not the state, had the primary rights to oversee the spiritual development of their children.

      Homeschooling, a radical form of educational dissent, experienced a phenomenal growth in the 1970s and 1980s, increasing from about 13,000 students being homeschooled in the early 1970s to approximately 400,000 by 1990. Moral and religious reasons account for this growth, which would continue unabated into the 21st century, as religious parents expressed their dissatisfaction with what they perceived as an assault on morals in the public schools and a neglect of religion in those institutions. Litigation involving home-schooling parents and the public education sector occurred rather frequently during this period.

      Moral education has ever been an uppermost concern of American public schooling. Originally Bible based, moral education needed new underpinnings as a result of the Engel and Schempp decisions in 1962 and 1963, respectively. Reformers in the 1970s looked primarily to two methods of teaching moral education in the schools. Some advocated values clarification, a seven-step process that allegedly was value neutral, highlighted by the steps of prizing, choosing, and acting. The values clarification theory had its critics, especially those who accused it of fostering moral relativism.

      The influence of Harvard psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg was the second kind of moral education advanced in the 1970s. Basing his thinking on the philosopher Emmanuel Kant, Kohlberg proffered a cognitive stage development approach, which began with the preconventional (morality of an action is based on the consequences of those actions) and terminated with the postconventional (in which morality is determined by the individual's internal processes of rational thought).

      The 1980s and 1990s: The Period of a Nation at Risk

      Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president of the United States in 1981. His presidency marked the ushering in of a conservative era in the United States, which included education. Reagan's campaign featured a call to abolish the federal Department of Education, begun under the presidency of his immediate predecessor, Jimmy Carter; a call to restore school prayer in the nation's public schools and an emphasis on moral education in those schools; and a pledge to work for tuition tax credits for parents of private school students. None of these objectives was accomplished during the Reagan years, but the time was marked by the implementation of the influential A Nation at Risk and an overall ascendancy of conservatism in federal educational policy. Perhaps chief among the Reagan-led movement in education was A Nation at Risk, a policy reform document that described the dismal state of the nation's public schools.

      This document, issued in April 1983, was the result of 2 years of hearings and discussions by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, headed by David Gardner, the former president of the University of Utah. The report was heavily influenced by comparisons with foreign sources, yet different because Sputnik was provoked by the supposed military superiority of the Soviet Union, whereas A Nation at Risk was generated from economic reasons, made by comparing the United States with some of its friends, namely, Germany, Japan, and South Korea. The “rising tide of mediocrity” in U.S. public schools was alleged to have causal consequences to the economic health of the United States, especially in comparison with the previously named nations. The report led to a number of major educational consequences, such as a reliance on testing (often referred to as high-stakes testing) and students' test scores, high scores that allegedly provided evidence of excellence, and an overall concern for “educational excellence.” American public schools were taken to the woodshed due to their acceptance both of the reforms that dated back to the Progressive era and those social and pedagogical approaches of the 1960s.

      William J. Bennett, Reagan's second education secretary, was a leader in advocating a return of prayer to the public schools and to an emphasis on moral education. The absence of these two phenomena had led, some alleged, to an increase in school violence and to other dire educational results. Their return was presented as a reform.

      Finally, in what some have said showed bias on the part of the president in favor of private schools, the Reagan years marked a call for tuition tax credits to parents who could use them for the tuition of their children at private schools. It is well to note at this point that social scientists, such as the eminent James S. Coleman, published studies that claimed to show the academic superiority of private schools over public schools and hence their “reforming” nature.

      Dissent as Exemplified by Faith-Based Schools and Homeschooling

      Catholic schools, by far the largest faith-based dissenting school system, fell on hard times after their zenith in 1966. Faced with a major shift of Catholic population from the cities to the suburbs, combined with a loss of sense of purpose in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and the departure of vowed religious from the teaching ministry (which greatly increased the cost of attendance for students), the enrollment of Catholic schools had dropped precipitously to around 2.5 million students by 1988–1989. Several other denominations that sponsored schools, most notably the Seventh-day Adventists and Lutherans, also experienced enrollment losses. However, Christian day schools, and schools operated by Jewish and Muslim sources, grew rapidly in the last 2 decades of the 20th century. Meanwhile, homeschooling experienced continuous growth. Though estimates of homeschooled youth vary somewhat, it is believed that over a million children were being home-schooled as the century neared its end.

      The reforms spawned by the “excellence in education” movement continued unabated as the century neared its end. Site-based management was advocated as a means to offset the charge of bureaucratic ineptitude, by moving the site for school decision making to the individual public school. E. D. Hirsch of the University of Virginia put forth his cultural literacy program, in which he not only criticized the “permissiveness” of public schooling since the Progressive era but also recommended a curriculum of shared knowledge, which he termed cultural literacy, that would close the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged youngsters. George H. W. Bush, styling himself as the “education president,” led a program that some referred to as educational reform called America 2000, in which all the nation's governors were involved. Among its goals was that by 2000 all of the nation's youth would begin school ready to learn and that American students would be first in the world in science and mathematics achievement. These and other America 2000 goals stated ideals but did not contain any specific means whereby the goals would be reached.

      One of the governors who participated in President Bush's meeting at the University of Virginia in 1989 was William Clinton, then governor of the state of Arkansas. After his election as president to succeed George H. W. Bush, Clinton led a move that resulted in a reform program called Goals 2000, which was very similar to Bush's America 2000, but it limited school choice to public schools and added parental involvement and improvement of trade education to the list of reforms. Another feature of the reforms from the Clinton era was school-to-work, which was often presented as a panacea (as was its immediate predecessor, career education).

      The 2000s: The Period of No Child Left Behind

      One of the most controversial public policy initiatives of the early 21st century was George W. Bush's signing into law in January 2002 the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. Concerns about the competitiveness of American schools and especially America's students led policymakers to argue for legislation that would define new expectations for what students should be able to demonstrate in terms of proficiency in subjects such as reading and mathematics. The law focused on improving student achievement and required states to establish more academically rigorous standards and assessments and to evaluate the degree to which students were achieving or meeting defined standards. In essence, the 21st century ushered in a new and more rigorous focus on educational accountability.

      Also, critical to the NCLB framework was an emphasis on the use of scientifically based research. The term scientifically based research is mentioned numerous times in the law, and an effort was made to ensure that practitioners could have access to information about evidence-based programs throughout the United States. Indeed, as part of the legislation, the Institute of Educational Studies (previously the Office of Education Research and Improvement) was asked to identify programs that met specific criteria about practices and interventions that would be advantageous vis-à-vis enhancement of student performance (proficiency).

      One of the real controversies of the law was the fact that states could define what proficiency meant in math and reading. Quite obviously what emerged were differential expectations regarding proficiency across the 50 states, with some measuring their students against relatively low standards (e.g., Oklahoma and Tennessee) and others using relatively high academic metrics (e.g., Maine and Massachusetts). Questions around the strength of state proficiency standards were fodder for conservative policymakers such as Paul Peterson and Frederick (Rick) Hess. Peterson and Hess, along with others, measured the performance of students in the different states using state-by-state comparisons of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, which allowed them to assess between a student whom a state identified as proficient and a student identified as proficient by NAEP. The consequent comparisons allowed a measure of the strength of each state's proficiency standards. In essence, NCLB instituted a requirement for proficiency but then each state was allowed to raise or lower the bar of what it meant to be proficient. On one level NCLB represented a significant policy reform, and on another level it became a way for states to circumvent real change.

      The 2000s evidenced a number of different NCLB by-products. One of those was significant focus on assessments of and for learning. Of particular note is the way in which states began to institute a variety of mandated exit exams as a means of ensuring that each student possessed the requisite skills necessary to graduate from high school and hopefully pursue a postsecondary education. In 2002, the majority of those exams were minimum competency exams (MCEs) that essentially focused on academic skills below the high school level. These MCEs were used in 10 different states (out of 18 states that used exit exams). In 2008 a real change had occurred and more states were beginning to use comprehensive exams (CEs). These CEs consisted of exams that were aligned with state standards in several different subject areas but especially focused on 9th- and 10th-grade academic skills. Seventeen states required CEs and only two states continue to use MCEs. Interestingly, a real move toward a third type of exam appears evident in the next decade, and that is the end of course exam (EOC). It is projected that by 2015, 14 states will be using EOCs and 15 states will be using CEs. No state is projected to continue use of MCEs.

      Clearly, the reforms during the first decade of the 2000s focused heavily on accountability; equally clear is the fact that policymakers and reformers are struggling with how to structure schools to ensure that all students have access to a quality education. With NCLB in place some suggest that quality schools could and should be established if choice options are made available (i.e., vouchers, charter schools, etc.). Others argue that choice simply compromises the quality of existing public schools, and they advocate for providing better resources to existing public school districts and then holding them accountable for results. Reformers contend that public schools have a poor track record of closing weak-performing or failing schools. Traditionalists argue that schools in high-poverty areas (i.e., those that are often most unlikely to help students achieve their full potential) have simply never been adequately resourced.

      As the policy debates of the next decade continue, the key issues by reformers and by those arguing against reform will focus on what accountability entails and what the consequences should be for all types of schools that fail to meet the academic expectations that NCLB has mandated and the states are now endeavoring to implement.

      Historical Timeline

      1635Citizens founded Boston Latin School, the oldest continuously operating school in the United States. The school is currently part of the public school system. At its founding, however, the distinction between public and private education was not particularly sharp. Like most colonial schools, Boston Latin was supported by both public and private funds. Latin grammar schools were originally designed for sons of certain social classes who were destined for leadership positions in church, state, or the courts.
      1635The first “free school” in Virginia opens. Education in the southern colonies is more typically provided at home by parents or tutors.
      1636Harvard College, the first institution of higher education in the United States, is founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
      1642The Massachusetts General Court mandates that town officials make sure that parents and masters teach children to read and to understand “principles of religion and the capital laws of the country.”
      1647The Massachusetts Law of 1647 is passed, requiring that every town with at least 50 families hire a schoolmaster and every town with at least 100 families have a Latin grammar school to prepare students for Harvard.
      1690The first edition of The New England Primer is printed in Boston. It becomes the most widely used schoolbook in New England.
      1693The College of William and Mary is established in Virginia. It is the second college to open in colonial America and has the distinction of being Thomas Jefferson's college.
      1751Benjamin Franklin helps to establish the first “English academy” in Philadelphia, with a curriculum that is both classical and modern. The academy eventually becomes the University of Pennsylvania.
      1779Thomas Jefferson proposes a free schooling plan and a two-track educational system, with different tracks “for the laboring and the learned.”
      1783–1785Noah Webster writes A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, which consists of three volumes: a spelling book, a grammar book, and a reader. The spelling volume, later renamed the American Spelling Book, has never been out of print.
      1787The Northwest Ordinance includes details of territorial and state organization and asserts that since “religion, morality, and knowledge” are necessary for good government and human happiness, “schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
      1794New York is the first state to establish a board of regents.
      1801Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest art institution in the United States, is founded in Philadelphia.
      1802The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is established by Congress.
      1805The Free School Society (renamed the Public School Society in 1826) is organized initially to provide inexpensive, basic education for poor children and later all children in New York City.
      1817The first free public school for the deaf (the Connecticut Asylum at Hartford for the Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons) is founded by Thomas Gallaudet.
      1802–1860Reformers successfully establish common school systems in northern states. With few exceptions, southern states do not embrace the major features of common school reform until after the Civil War.
      1821The first U.S. women's college, Troy Female Seminary, is founded by Emma Hart Willard in Troy, New York. In 1895, the school is renamed Emma Willard School in her honor. Also, the first public high school, Boston English High School, opens.
      1827Massachusetts is the first state to pass a law that establishes tax-supported public schools. It required that towns of more than 500 families have a public school open to all students.
      1827The first U.S. kindergarten is established in Watertown, Wisconsin.
      1829The New England Asylum for the Blind, now called the Perkins School for the Blind, opens in Massachusetts. It is the first school in the United States for children with visual disabilities.
      1836William Holmes McGuffey publishes his first reader. The McGuffey Readers, as they became known, are among the most influential textbooks of the 19th century.
      1837Horace Mann becomes secretary of the newly formed Massachusetts State Board of Education, where he worked to increase funding for public schools and training for teachers.
      1837Eighty students arrive at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, now known as Mount Holyoke College. It is known today as the nation's oldest continuing education institution for women.
      1839The first state-funded school specifically for teacher education, originally called a “normal” school, opens in Lexington, Massachusetts.
      1840Bishop John Hughes begins an unsuccessful effort to secure a share of state school funds for Catholic schools in New York City. He later turns his attention to the development of a system of parochial schools.
      1848Massachusetts Reform School opens, which brings together the traditional education system and juvenile justice system to make “reform schools.”
      1852Massachusetts enacts the first compulsory attendance law.
      1857The National Teachers' Association is founded. It is renamed the National Educational Association in 1870 and the National Education Association in 1908.
      1862The First Morrill Act, also known as the “Land Grant Act” becomes law, giving land to states for at least one college to teach higher education.
      1864Thomas Gallaudet's son, Edward Miner Gallaudet, helps to start Gallaudet University, the first college specifically for deaf students.
      1873The first nursing school is established at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.
      1879Robert L. Dabney, a southern Presbyterian theologian, publishes “Secularized Education” in the Princeton Review, in which he argues that the family, not the state or the church, should be responsible for the education of children.
      1881Booker T. Washington becomes the first principal of the normal school in Tuskegee, Alabama, known now as Tuskegee University.
      1884At the Catholic bishops meeting in Baltimore, the Third Plenary Council decrees that each Catholic parish have a parochial elementary school with 2 years and all Catholic parents send their children to this school. The local bishop's permission is required for an exception in each instance.
      1892–1893Joseph M. Rice, a physician turned educational reformer, publishes a series of articles in the Forum pointing out dull instruction, inept administration, and corruption in the public schools. His exposé helps spark educational reform in the Progressive era.
      1893The Committee of Ten on Secondary School Studies recommends four programs of academic study for high school students that would discipline the mind and prepare students for life as well as college.
      1896In Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court establishes the “separate but equal” doctrine, which legitimizes racial segregation in public education.
      1907William Wirt is appointed superintendent of the Gary, Indiana, public schools and incorporates a variety of social, pedagogical, and administrative progressive reforms as part of the “Gary Plan” during his 31-year tenure.
      1909Ella Flagg Young becomes the first woman to be appointed superintendent of a large, urban school system (Chicago).
      1911The first Montessori schools open in Tarrytown, New York.
      1916John Dewey, philosopher and educational theorist, publishes Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education, which advances the “progressive education movement.” He also establishes the University of Chicago Laboratory School to test his progressive ideas.
      1917Julius Rosenwald establishes a philanthropic organization to advance the “well-being of mankind.” The Rosenwald Fund provides substantial support for schools for Americans of African descent in the South.
      1918The Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education issues the Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education, a pamphlet that puts forth a broad, progressive vision of the American high school.
      1925In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court declares unconstitutional an Oregon law compelling public school attendance for nearly all children and recognizes the right of private schools to operate subject to “reasonable” regulation and the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.
      1926The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is first administered.
      1926Jean Piaget publishes The Child's Conception of the World about cognitive development, which influenced American psychology and education.
      1929Robert and Helen Lynd publish Middletown, a classic sociological study that, among other things, reveals the impact of progressive educational reform on the public schools in Muncie, Indiana.
      1934–1942The Progressive Education Association conducts the Eight-Year Study, which compares college achievement of graduates from “progressive” high schools with that of graduates from “traditional” high schools.
      1945Thousands of working-class men attend college through the G.I. Bill after World War II.
      1947In Everson v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court applies the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to state actions and adopts a “strict separationist” interpretation of the clause. The Court permits busing of children at public expense to church-affiliated schools under the child benefit principle.
      1948The Educational Testing Center is formed through grants from the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations.
      1953B. F. Skinner's Science and Human Behavior is published. His form of behaviorism (operant conditioning), which emphasizes changes in behavior due to reinforcement, becomes widely accepted and influences many aspects of American education.
      1954The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that de jure racial segregation is unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This decision overturns its previous ruling in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson.
      1955The Supreme Court orders all deliberate speed in integration of public schools.
      1957Arkansas governor Orval Faubus calls out the National Guard to block nine Black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Under pressure from President Eisenhower, Faubus removes the National Guard, leaving city police to confront a mob attempting to prevent enforcement of a federal court order to desegregate the school. After local authorities remove the students from the school, Eisenhower dispatches federal troops to enforce the court order. The students become known as the Little Rock Nine.
      1957Soviet Union launches the first earth satellite, Sputnik, which prompts a wave of reform aimed at shoring up the academic curriculum of American high schools.
      1958Congress passes the National Defense Education Act in order to improve instruction in math, science, and other critical subjects.
      1960First-grader Ruby Bridges becomes the first African American to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. She becomes a class of one, as parents remove all Caucasian students from the class.
      1962After 3,000 troops suppress riots, James Meredith becomes the first Black student at the University of Mississippi.
      1962The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Engel v. Vitale that state-sponsored prayer in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The following year the Court extends the prohibition to devotional Bible reading.
      1963Alabama governor George Wallace submits to the federally deployed National Guard, and the University of Alabama is desegregated. In addition, the Supreme Court rules that laws forcing the reciting of the Lord's Prayer or Bible verses are unconstitutional.
      1965Congress passes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, part of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. It provides federal funds to help low-income students, which results in programs such as free lunches, Title I, and bilingual education. In addition, Project Head Start, a preschool education program for children from low-income families, begins as an 8-week summer program. This program continues today as the longest-running antipoverty program in the United States.
      1966Jerome Bruner publishes Toward a Theory of Instruction. His views regarding learning help to popularize the cognitive learning theory as an alternative to behaviorism.
      1966The federal government releases sociologist James S. Coleman's controversial report, Equality of Educational Opportunity. The Coleman report suggests that school resources have less influence on achievement than do family background factors.
      1969Herbert R. Kohl's book The Open Classroom helps to promote open education, an approach emphasizing student-centered classrooms and active, holistic learning. The conservative, back-to basics movement of the 1970s begins at least partially as a backlash against open education.
      1969The National Assessment of Educational Progress measures educational achievement in 10 subject matter areas of a nationwide sample of 9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students.
      1971Ivan Illich publishes Deschooling Society, a radical critique of institutional schooling. It is among several critiques of schooling published between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s.
      1971In Serrano v. Priest, the California Supreme Court declares that the state's heavy dependence on the property tax to fund public schools violates the equal protection principles of the state and federal constitutions and sets an important precedent in a wave of school finance cases.
      1974Federal judge Arthur Garrity orders busing of African American students to predominately White schools in order to achieve racial integration of public schools in Boston. White parents protest, particularly in South Boston.
      1975The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94–142) becomes federal law. It requires that a free, appropriate public education, suited to the student's individual needs and offered in the least restrictive setting, be provided for all “handicapped” children. States are given until 1978 (later extended to 1981) to fully implement the law.
      1979Concerned Women for America, one of several “religious right” organizations, is founded as an alternative to the liberal National Organization for Women. Education is one of its six core issues.
      1980–2000Homeschooling expands from 10,000 to 20,000 students to well over 1 million.
      1981John Holt's book Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path for Education adds momentum to the homeschooling movement.
      1981People For the American Way, a liberal advocacy organization, is founded to counter the efforts of “religious right” groups' efforts to influence, among other things, education.
      1982Madeline Hunter's book, Mastery Teaching, is published. Her direct instruction teaching model becomes widely used as teachers throughout the country attend her workshops.
      1983The report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk, calls for sweeping reforms in public education and teacher training.
      1986Teacher in Space Project participant Christa McAuliffe, who was selected from among more than 11,000 applicants, is killed with six other astronauts when the space shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after liftoff.
      1990The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) renames and amends Public Law 94–142, changes the term handicap to disability, mandates transition services, and adds autism and traumatic brain injury to the list of eligible disabilities. In addition, Teach For America is formed, reestablishing the idea of a national teachers corps.
      1992City Academy High School, the nation's first charter school, opens in St. Paul, Minnesota.
      1993Jacqueline and Martin Brooks's In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms is published. It is one of many books and articles describing constructivism, a view that learning occurs best through active construction of knowledge rather than its passive reception. Constructivist learning theory, rooted in the work of Dewey, Bruner, Piaget, and Vygotsky, becomes extremely popular in the 1990s.
      1998The Higher Education Act is amended and reauthorized, requiring institutions and states to produce “report cards” about teacher education.
      1999Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and then kill themselves.
      2000Diane Ravitch's book Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reform criticizes progressive educational policies and argues for a more traditional, academically oriented education.
      2001The controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is signed into law by President George W. Bush. The law, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, holds schools accountable for student achievement levels and provides penalties for schools that do not make adequate yearly progress toward meeting the goals of NCLB.
      2002In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the tax-funded Cleveland, Ohio, voucher program does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
      2003The Higher Education Act is again amended and reauthorized, expanding access to higher education for low- and middle-income students, providing additional funds for graduate studies and increasing accountability.
      2004The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA, 2004) reauthorizes and modifies IDEA. Changes include modifications in the Individualized Education Program process and procedural safeguards, increased authority for school personnel in special education placement decisions, and alignment of IDEA with NCLB.
      2007The House and Senate pass the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriation Bill, which includes reauthorization of NCLB. The bill is vetoed by President George W. Bush because it exceeds his budget request. Attempts to override his veto are unsuccessful.
      2008Barack Obama is elected the 44th president of the United States. Substantial changes in NCLB are expected eventually, but the nation's current economic problems take precedence over most other issues.
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