The State System

The goals of this system are based upon seven principles, which were developed at the beginning of this century by the National Educational Association’s Committee on the Reorganization of Secondary Education:

    1. Health
    2. Command of fundamental processes (development of basic skills)
    3. Worthy home membership
    4. Vocational Efficiency
    5. Citizenship
    6. Worthy use of leisure time
    7. Ethical character

    These are looked at as very relevant—even more needed—today than when first written. (Kenneth Henson, Secondary Teaching Methods).

    Much emphasis is put upon current society, and the changes it is going through. The educational committees look at ways that schools can help the youth deal with their world. A 1972 NEA committee remarked on the ‘system’s break’ that society is going through currently as we see changes happening in our experience of the world that are permanent; we no longer see earth as an infinite resource, there is mistrust of government and institutions, people suffer from job alienation, the world population grows by almost three million people every two weeks. To the seven cardinal principles, the U.S. Office of Education and the National Association of Secondary School Principals added consumerism, versatility, flexibility, helping students learn to feel positive about themselves, and special emphasis on cultural pluralism. But schools are not looked at as the [more...]

only educators of young people in modern society. Churches, synagogues, family, libraries, museums, clubs, daycare centers, factories and even radio stations and television networks are also organized to educate the people, albeit with their own agendas.

There is a definite emphasis on quantity: what is covered in the curriculum, not much talked about how it is covered.

    Public education has gone through periods of curricular emphasis, from the Subject Matter era of rote memorization and recitation, through the Psychologized subject matter era in which lessons were presented as preparation, presentation, comparison, generalization, and application. The individuality of the Child-centered era after 1910 gave way to the Society-centered era after 1930 with an emphasis “not on civil society, not on religious society, not on the society of the family, not an a society for savings and loans, but on some nebulous and overriding concept called society.”(McCoy) A criticism of State education has been that there is overemphasis on educating youth to meet society’s needs.

    A more modern development has been again the emphasis on the intellectual development of students as the unique job of schools. As a result, some theorists have come up with the new basics, based upon the previous ones, which include the need to “learn how to live with uncertainty, complexity and change; develop the ability to anticipate; adapt to new structures, new values and understandings; see relationships, sorting and weighing them; understand the facts of life (realities); become aware of alternatives; learn to analyze the consequences of their chosen alternatives; learn how to make choices; and learn how to work together to get things done.

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…It is perfectly clear that our society supports schools because of the belief that they make a direct contribution to the perpetuation and improvement of our democratic way of life.

Caswell and Foshay, Education in the elementary School.

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