How Past Crises Changed America’s Public Schools — ‘And so too Will COVID-19’Roundup
tags: World War II, Cold War, climate change, education, World War I, public schools, coronavirus
Anne Marie Ryan is professor and department chair of interdisciplinary learning and teaching at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Charles Tocci is assistant professor of education at Loyola University Chicago. They, along with Loyola associate professor of curriculum studies Seungho Moon, are the authors of the new book “The Curriculum Foundations Reader.”
The many social benefits that schools offer their communities in addition to educating students — such as feeding children, providing health care and social services, as well as socializing youth under the guidance of trained adults — became a core part of public schooling through the Progressive Era reforms of the early 20th century.
And it is exactly these functions that our districts have not been able to bundle with remote learning because a fundamental premise of our system is that schools are place-based institutions. Schools are geographically, socially, and culturally enmeshed in their local communities through daily interactions in and around the building.
The challenge was, as William Wirt articulated when describing his widely influential reform model, the Gary Plan, that “school must do what the school, the home, and the small shop formerly did together.”
Developed in 1907, this system entailed extending the school day and expanding the curriculum through partnerships with local libraries, churches, the YMCA, and businesses to cultivate a broader community into which students were being enculturated. This effort to care for the whole child and not focus strictly on intellectual development is a hallmark contribution of the American Progressive Era education reform movement.
In taking on this greater role, schools necessarily became more responsive to society’s disruptive events. Schools grappled with World War I, the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, tuberculosis and measles all at once during the 1910s. The influx of issues and communicable diseases prompted a keen focus on children’s health. A peculiar innovation during this era was the development of open-air schools to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.
comments powered by Disqus
- The Muddled History of Anti-Asian Violence
- Massive Investment in Social Studies and Civics Education Proposed to Address Eroding Trust in Democratic Institutions
- Lightning Strikes Twice: Another Lost Jacob Lawrence Surfaces
- Former Procter and Gamble CEO: America and the World Need History Majors
- Cherokee Nation Addresses Bias Against Descendants of Enslaved People
- Part of Being a Domestic Goddess in 17th-Century Europe Was Making Medicines
- How Dr. Seuss Responded to Critics Who Called Out His Racism
- Discovery Of Schoolhouse For Black Children Now Offers A History Lesson
- People Longing for Movie Theaters During the 1918 Flu Pandemic Feels Very Familiar in 2021
- How Did "Bipartisanship" Become a Goal In Itself? (Podcast)