Essay On Politics And Education

One of the best places to start when trying to grasp the schooling enterprise that, after 1959, began to be seen as one of the nation’s core political institutions is Tyack 1974, a classic description of how local, village, and community schools throughout the nation sought to become the “one best system.” This book tells the story of how schools became professionalized and bureaucratized, emerging as partners to the Industrial Revolution. Four important books elaborate the industrialization theme identified in Tyack 1974. The first is Taylor 2010, a classic work. Elwood Cubberley and George Strayer, two prominent professors of education, led in bringing concepts of closely managed and supervised work into the arena of the public school. Their major works are Cubberley 1916 and Strayer, et al. 1916. Even as the bureaucratic and managerial revolutions were transforming public education, however, some critics were setting in motion a counterforce. Intellectually led by the philosopher John Dewey, educational progressives were pressing for a more humane and democratic approach to school organization and instruction. The story of this counterpressure is well told in Cremin 1961. Among the best known and most influential of the progressives was George S. Counts. His most influential work is Counts 1932. See also the seminal essay Eliot 1959.

  • Counts, G. S. 1932. Dare the school build a new social order? New York: John Day.

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    In this volume, education is seen as the most important social institution for maintaining democratic ideals and securing democratic government.

  • Cremin, L. A. 1961. The transformation of the school: Progressivism in American education, 1876–1957. New York: Knopf.

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    While discipline for the scientific managers meant teacher and administrator authority to control students’ behavior, education progressives saw discipline as a matter of student engagement in disciplined inquiry in which students were not compelled to learn lessons dictated by teachers. Ultimately, progressivism collapsed, however, leaving a legacy of social commitment and intellectual challenge, but without overcoming the managerial and bureaucratic legacy of Taylorism.

  • Cubberley, E. P. 1916. Public school administration: A statement of the fundamental principles underlying the organization and administration of public education. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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    This volume, together with Strayer, et al. 1916, formed the persuasive argument advocating separation of educational governance from civic government, giving rise to nonpartisan school boards and professionalized school superintendents. The model embraced by these men dominated school governance throughout the 20th century. Cubberley was also influential in calling for policy decisions to be based on empirical data collection and analysis.

  • Eliot, T. 1959. Toward an understanding of public school politics. American Political Science Review 53.4: 1032–1051.

    DOI: 10.2307/1952073E-mail Citation »

    This essay sparked widespread recognition of how thoroughly political scholars and politicians had neglected the political dimensions of school organization and operations, thus stimulating the formation of a politics of education scholarly movement.

  • Strayer, G. D., F. P. Bachman, E. P. Cubberley, W. T. Bawden, and F. J. Kelly. 1916. Some problems in city school administration. Yonkers-on-Hudson, NY: World Book.

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    This volume and Cubberley 1916 constitute part of a large number of writings by these two men. Cubberley and Strayer dominated the managerial reform in school administration, championing close supervision of teachers, detailed specification of tasks, and reliance on formal surveys to secure the data needed for the new management framework.

  • Taylor, F. W. 2010. The principles of scientific management. New York: Cosimo Classics.

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    Originally published in 1911. Taylor articulated a rationale guiding the development of modern industrial management. Taylor led the revolution in task fragmentation and time-and-motion studies that made mass production possible. The archetype of the new fragmented and carefully monitored worker is a pig-iron hauler identified as “Schmidt.” Taylor describes how Schmidt is coached to become more efficient by following the dictates of his supervisors.

  • Tyack, D. B. 1974. The one best system: A history of American urban education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    Reaching back to 19th-century roots, Tyack traces the evolution of American public education from a rural and agrarian ethos to becoming a partner in the transformation of the United States into an urban-industrial nation. While Tyack viewed his work as tentative, it has become the most widely read interpretation of how public education evolved into the bureaucratic, professionalized, and compulsory system of the mid-20th century.

  • ...  1. What is the purpose of education? To transmit culture? To provide social and economic skills? To develop critical thinking skills? To reform society?   I think that the purpose of education is to get the children ready for real life, and provide them the learning skills, and abilities that they will need. 2. What are schools for? To teach skills and subjects? To encourage personal self-definition? To develop human intelligence? To create patriotic, economically productive citizens?





 Schools’ purposes are major in every culture all around the world. In my eyes, schools are to educate the general public, young or old for survival in the next chapter in their life, a degree. They are taught the basic skills and subjects to maneuver on to college, or to start life. After the basics, they are taught more in depth skills and subjects. Schools aren’t good just for that. In schools children also gain life long friends, experiences and learn the social skills they need in life. 3. What should the curriculum contain? Basic skills and subjects? Experiences and projects? Inquiry processes? Critical dialogues? The curriculum should contain all basic skills and subjects, math, reading, language, writing, science, and geography. Then on a second level, to test the knowledge, and for student’s to learn from other students, projects should come in. As for experiences, I think that students that can relate, should share their...

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