Children are the unbridled hopes and dreams of society. They embody power, ambition, and innocence. Children are the untainted saviors of the future. They are full of energy and have minds developing at a rate that is perfect for being educated. They are the future of the world. Everyone wants to invest in the future for whatever personal vendetta they may have. With the amount of emphasis on children and education it is not surprising that the processes by which the next generation is being taught has become scrutinized on many occasions. American public education has been a major issue for almost as long as it has been around. Many movements and people have tried solutions that they ...view middle of the document...
In the South slaves were taught the skills necessary to preform set task, but the slaves were forbidden by law to learn to read or write. (Gutek, et. al. 709)
The idea of public schools being funded by tax money was not popularized until the early 1800s. The biggest advocate for education reform and homogenization of curriculum was Mann. Mann was also vital to the formation of the Massachusetts Board of Education. He was a large advocator for tax-supported schools, community driven education, and expanded curriculum (“Horace Mann” 1). In his book Thoughts Mann states:
If ever there was a cause, if ever there can be a cause, worthy to be upheld by all of toil or sacrifice that the human heart can endure, it is the cause of Education. It has intrinsic and indestructible merits. It holds the welfare of mankind in its embrace, as the protecting arms of a mother hold her infant to her bosom. The very ignorance and selfishness which obstruct its path are the strongest arguments for its promotion, for it furnishes the only adequate means for their removal. (Mann 7)
With the selflessness and passion Mann was able to achieve reform that gave the education system fertile soil to grow. The early education system thrived because of the strong foundation of the community. With the achievements of the education system America was able to become the most powerful country in every respect. As the United States became more and more competitive in the global market, education adapted and expanded to encompass the skills needed to achieve success.
Standardized Testing: The Biased Beginning and Lasting Influence
The American education system has undergone many changes since the days of Horace Mann. Public schools are almost, if not completely, funded by taxes. Schools are open for all children no matter what ethnicity or economic class they come from. Children are also required to receive schooling from around the age of five to the age of eighteen. The changes in education have not been limited to who can now receive adequate educations. Standardized testing has also become part of the education system. Testing was originally applied orally, but the first standardized testing was originally administered through written exams.1 At the time standardized meant that test were not subjective, and they were not seen as a basis for directly comparing students. The written exams were administered for two purposes, “to classify children (in pursuit of more efficient learning) and to monitor school systems by external authorities”(Testing in American Schools 107). The classification of students and monitoring schools was to ensure fairness in education and to ensure equally opportunity for all students. Students were classified so that students with similar ability would be grouped together to increase the quality of their educations while increasing the efficiency of the overall system. Rather unfortunately, one of the main uses of the tests for confirming the fact that...