Reflection 2: American Education History

This is my first reflection posting for EDU 6120. This represents the starting point of my growth and development of knowledge of the history of American Education.

I have learned much in the realm of American education because of my studies in EDU 6120 American education: past & present.  I can now confidently say that my personal knowledge of American education goes as far back as the first inhabitants of our continent. My mindset prior was that education has to coexist with classroom but this is obviously not the case. Native Americans taught their children skills of hunting, agriculture, and gathering. In addition life skills/lessons were taught and passed down through storytelling (Urban & Wagner, 2009). Both are examples occurring outside of a classroom and because they require the process of acquiring new knowledge, each would constitute as education.  Furthermore I have learned about the many critical thinkers who contributed to American education. For example John Locke and Tabula Rasa – because of this, teachers formed recitation. Thomas Jefferson believing that all should have the opportunity for an education. The McGuffey Reader which is one of the first textbooks – lessons with foundation of moral beliefs (Urban & Wagner, 2009). This is just to name a few examples of how my knowledge has grown and I now have a better understanding of the events which took place before the civil rights movement.

The notions of Brown vs. Board of Education and the Coleman Report of 1966 were major events and well known in civil rights movements especially in the realm of equal education. What I did not know was that the fight for equal education has been occurring since the first schools were established. During the reconstruction era (1865-1869), the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill was created to provide support for freed slaves and displayed whites. The government believed that through education equality would be gained. Many issues in education have been observed previously in some way or another – some instances like equal education may have taken longer to overcome or to improve. This is very useful information because it is critical to understand where our education has been in the past in order to prevent similar issues from reemerging and to learn from the trials and tribulations.

Previously, I thought I knew more about current American education but that was definitively not the case. Prior to the class I had never heard of America 2000, A Nation at Risk, or McCleary v. Washington State. Additionally, I had heard of Head Start but knew nothing specific about the program. Head Start was not just an education program, but focused on the children’s developing intellectually, socially, and physically (Urban & Wagner, 2009). Head Start is to provide education, health, nutrition, and parent services to the low-income children and their family. Head Start is an instrumental program that is still used effective today. These examples are all newer efforts to improve American education, which I am knowledgeable about. In summary, I have learned a great deal about American education in the past and in the present and now have a more defined foundational base which will support my efforts in becoming a teacher.

Urban, W.J., & Wagoner, J.L. (2009). American education a history. New York: Routledge.


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