Goals of Public Education

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Goals of American Public Education
National University
Foundations of Education/TED 602
January 13, 2012
Professor KL

Goals of American Public Education
Public education in America began in the early to mid-19th century with the simple goal of “uniting the American population by instilling common moral and political values” (Spring, 2012, p. 5). Our country was founded by men who designed the constitution so that it could be amended to accommodate changing political and social climates. They believed in the ideology of the American dream which “holds out a vision of both individual success and the collective good of all” (Hochschild & Scovronick, 2004, p. 1). It is with this same ideology that our public schools were originally formed. Our Founding Fathers

Thomas Jefferson felt that public education would ensure the political soundness of the United States by educating the finest future politicians possible. His proposal included limited education for the masses in order to find “twenty of the best geniuses... raked from the rubbish annually” (Spring, 2012, p. 9). No widespread public education existed until Horace Mann was elected the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837. Horace Mann instituted a system of public education in Massachusetts that included all children with the ideology of equality of opportunity. His desire that public education would be the “great balance wheel of society” (Spring, 2012, p. 6) was limited by the existing constraints on who could become an American citizen. The creed of equality of opportunity has been foremost in the goals of our public education since the beginning. Equality of Opportunity School Models

It is difficult to attain the idyllic situation that “education would provide everyone with an equal chance to pursue wealth” (Spring, 2012, p. 57). Many social, economic, and political barriers exist to attaining this ideal objective. Joel Spring, author of the book Education and...
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