The History of American Education Part II: What Is School For? Thoughts on Teaching the History of Education with Academy Fellows Jenna Alden and Daniel Freund
Since the nation’s founding, Americans have cast their children’s education as central to democracy’s preservation. To pursue such a lofty goal, many schools have been agents of mass assimilation: they have privileged opportunities for some, at the expense of others, and have often failed as great democratizers. For better or worse, they have also helped to define what American democracy is and can be. In this session, two teachers who specialize in the history of education will argue that the history of American education can be a deeply engaging way to grapple with our nation’s tortured entanglements of race, class, gender, and power. We will consider why we have schools, whom they serve, how to teach the history of education, and how that history promotes a fuller understanding of the nation’s past. We will also explore practical ways to insert the history of education into broader surveys of US history. Participants will receive some homework to introduce the topic. CTLE-credit is available. This program is free for full-time classroom teachers in public, charter and independent schools.