- Material Type:
- Community College / Lower Division
- Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
- Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0
- Media Formats:
- eBook, Text/HTML, Video
Video: A Short History of Public Schooling – Excerpt from the Film Class Dismissed
Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World
A Brief History of Public Education in the United States
Describe how economic development and political ideals influence the emergence of public education
OER Text material
This section provides a general overview of the history of education in the United States. It covers how education moved from a the exclusive remit of the wealthy to a public education system due to the needs of an industrial economy and a desire to establish and reinforce “American” values over all others.
Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)
Historical Timeline of Public Education in the US
Source provides key flash points in the history of the development of public education in the United States.
A Short History of Public Schooling – Excerpt from the Film Class Dismissed
Presents the view that public schools were developed first and foremost to maintain social order and existing power and economic structures.
“A Brief History of Public Education in the United States” by Sylvia L. Mendez, Monia S. Yoo, and John L. Rury in The Wiley Handbook of School Choice, First Edition. Edited by Robert A. Fox and Nina K. Buchanan. (2017:13-27)
Schools have functioned as one of the principal institutions from colonial America to the twenty‐first century to transmit knowledge and cultural values across generations. Early in their history, schools reflected the interests of local communities, but in the nineteenth century they also began to serve national interests, and today they increasingly address international issues. As this suggests, educational institutions have reflected important social and political changes. In reviewing the history of public education, the symbiotic relationship between schools and society is apparent and aids in our understanding of today’s school system. This chapter provides a brief history and review of the current state of public education, with a focus on five periods: Colonial America and the Revolution, the Age of the Common School, the Progressive Era, the Postwar Period, and the Emerging Twenty‐First Century.