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State Control of Instruction

A STUDY OF CENTRALIZATION IN

PUBLIC EDUCATION

BY

AUGUST WILLIAM WEBER

Professor of Psychology and Education, Cleveland Normal Training School

A THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

1911

CLEVELAND, OHIO

INTRODUCTION....

4

The centralizing tendency of public education-The pur-

pose of this dissertation.

CHAPTER 1-Historical Sketch..

The early colonists—The act of 1642—The act of 1647—Free

schools in colonial times-Religious control of colonial schools,

The later colonial period—The origin of the district school-

State systems of education-Causes of centralization-Evidences

of centralization.

CHAPTER II—Elementary Education.

19

The need of education—The necessity for state control—The

meaning of state control-Elementary education of first con-

sideration–The curriculum as a controlling factor-Constitu-

tional provisions-Means of control of curricula-Statute

requirements—State courses of study--Extent of centralized

control-Exceptional requirements-Enrichment and elimina-

tion-Authority of school boards over courses of study-School

efficiency-Eighth grade examination-State subsidies-State

supervision of school buildings—The centralizing tendency a

recent growth.

CHAPTER III—Secondary Education...

38

The need of secondary education—The origin of the high

school-State requirements as to courses of study-Extent of

state control-Minimum requirements—The aim of the high

school-State aid-Manual and industrial training-Agricul-

ture—Selection and adoption of textbooks-Examination and

certification of teachers-Centralization of control.

CHAPTER IV-Foreign Language Instruction....

.55

Language a vehicle of thought and expression-Language a

unifying force-Value of foreign language study-Foreign

language as a medium of instruction-Judicial decisions regard-

ing foreign language instruction Public school education

must be English.

CHAPTER V-Special Elements of the Curriculum... ..68

Physiology and hygiene-Patriotism-Arbor Day-Bird Day-

Humane education.

CHAPTER VI–Moral and Religious Education.

85

The demand for moral training-Legal provisions for moral

instruction-Constitutional provisions regarding religious in-

struction—Statutory provisions regarding religious instruc.

tion-Legal decisions regarding religious instruction—The

state the factor of control.

CHAPTER VII-Inspection and Supervision..

104.

Importance of supervision-State superintendent—State courses

of study-State board of education-State supervision-State

supervision of recent growth.

CHAPTER VIII—Influence of Higher Institutions on Sec-

ondary Courses of Study...

. 120

The purpose of this discussion—The accrediting system-

College domination.

Ro-classed

288484

STATE CONTROL OF INSTRUCTION

INTRODUCTION.

THE CENTRALIZING TENDENCY OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.

At any period of the world's history the dominant institution has had control of education. The family, the tribe, the guild, the church, have at various times in the history of man, wielded the scepter of learning The most dominant power of modern society is the state, and the underlying principle of American civilization is justice and equity. With the growth of the spirit of democracy this principle has become felt in education. To provide equal opportunities for all, the state has assumed greater and greater control in the administration of public education in the United States. In less than a century a transformation has taken place. From a state of extreme decentralization, as represented by the early colonial schools, has evolved one of increasing centralized power in constituted school authorities. Modern public education is characterized by the increasing control exercised by the state. The trend of development has been toward the firmer establishment of a wider and more effective state supremacy over education. THE PURPOSE OF THIS DISSERTATION.

Among the most significant factors of this centralizing process is the curriculum of the public school. It is the purpose of this dissertation to analyze and set forth the contemporary status of this state-controlled curriculum of elementary and secondary public schools, to display the sharp distinction between the modern centralized state school and the decentralized institution from which it has developed.

CHAPTER I.

HISTORICAL SKETCH.

THE EARLY COLONISTS.

The history of education in the United States had its beginning with the first permanent English settlement. The early New England colonists came from the foremost of European peoples.

“Never since, in the history of our country has the population as a class been so highly educated as during the first half century of the Massachusetts settlements. One man in every 250 had been graduated from an English university, and both clergy and laity had brought enviable reputations for superior service both in church and college."1

Though puritanism was "the consummate flower of English intellect,”? it must be remembered that the emigrants shared the prevailing opinions, prejudices, and modes of thinking of the English at that day. They came to reproduce, as far as circumstances would permit, their English life. They recognized class distinctions and first set about erecting colleges for the training of the aristocracy for the Church and the State. THE ACT OF 1642.

The first legislation found in colonial records upon the subject of education, excepting that in reference to Harvard College, is the act passed June 14, 1642:

“This Cort, taking into consideration the great neglect of many parents & masters in training up their children in learning,

1 Dexter: History of Educaton in the U. S., p. 24.
2 Martin: Evolution of the Massachusetts Public School System, p. 2.

3 "In reckoning the mental outfit of the first comers we should only mislead ourselves by recalling the names of Johnson and Shakespeare and the other lights that were shining when the Susan Constant and her two little consorts sailed out of the Thames to bear a company of English people to the James River. Nor will it avail much to remember that Milton was a Puritan at the same time with Cotton and Hooker and Winthrop. The emigrants had no considerable part in the higher intellectual life of the age; the great artistic passions of Shakespeare and Milton touched them not at any point. Bacon's contributions to the art of finding truth did not belong to them. Men may live in the same time without being intellectual contemporaries.”—Eggleston: The

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