A historical study of selected documents from the period 1890--1920 with implications for understanding success in school

Wendy Hirsch Weiner, Florida International University

Abstract

During the years 1890–1920, the public school education system established itself as the medium to transmit American values, knowledge and culture. This study described and explained why some individuals were destined to fail, and others succeed in America's public schools. The exploratory questions guiding this study were: What elements constitute society's perspective of whom it should educate during the years 1890–1920? What variables influenced society's perspective of whom it should educate during the years 1890–1920? ^ After explaining these issues, educators will then have a better understanding and awareness of why certain educational practices are currently implemented and will be able to critically evaluate which ones should be continued. The methodology chosen was historical. The approach for analyzing the data was coding. The information was coded in order to determine themes, concepts and ideas amongst the documents and as portrayed in the literature. The first step was to seek out patterns and then to write out words and phrases to represent these topics. Then, these phrases were attributed to networks. ^ The data indicated that public schools during this era were designed to conform and assimilate the new immigrants and factory workers in an efficient and standardized manner. Efficiency and standardization in production became the American way for government, commerce, personal, lives and the school. Many different approaches to education emerged during this time period, specifically those, which emphasized individuality; but only those, which paralleled the ideology of efficiency, standardization and conformity were adopted. Those students who were unable to conform to society's criteria for success were penalized in the classroom, on IQ examinations and national standardized exams. ^ This study was illuminative in that it explained the root cause as to why some individuals are meant to succeed while others are penalized in the classroom. Future studies connecting standardized assessments and learning styles are suggested. ^

Subject Area

American Studies|Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Philosophy of

Recommended Citation

Weiner, Wendy Hirsch, "A historical study of selected documents from the period 1890--1920 with implications for understanding success in school" (1999). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9952372.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9952372

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