Early American schools basically replicated schools in England. They were mostly established by church congregations and not the civil authorities, although often there was nodiiferenuation between the two. Early schools focused strongly on the Bible which is understanable as the principal reason for schooling at the time was literacy so that people could read the Bible. Protesrantism put much more emphasis on the Bible than Catholcism. Early schools did not have curriculum. It was basically up to the teacher how to teach reading. And there were few books available to anyone. If a family had a book in the home, it was the Bible. Few families had much more in the way of books. Almost all universities in colonial America had religious foundation. America was a leader in public education and a major shift with the Regulation was from religious foundation to civil foundation. The basis for this would be Northwest Ordinance which provided funding for public education as the frontier moved West (1787). Schools as they developed focused on the Three Rs (reading, Wrighting, and arithmatic). In reality there as the four Rs as religion was a powerful part of early education. There were no text books until the 19th century. The only exceptiomn we know of was the Dilwoirth Spelling book, just before the turn of the 19th century (1796). Early text books were heavy on spelling and religion. In the process of teaching reading and spelling, early text books contained numerous scriptures verses along with God, Jesus, sin, and salvation. For some there was no state imposed curriculum. Th greatest influence stanbdardizing to an extent was the McCuffy Readers, the first two volumes appearing (1835-36). Only gradually did schools begin to adopt curiculum guidelines for techers. The McGuffy readers were reissud (1879). The new versions, without McGuffy who died in 1873 were designed to meet the needs of national unity after the Civil War and with immigrants beginning to arrive in greater numbers. The Reders were seculrized and were fovused on the idea of an American melting pot for the Europe's oppressed masses. The Calvinist values of salvation, righteousness, and piety so prominent in McGuffy's origina version were excluded from the news revised version. What remainess was middle-class civil religion, morality, and values. Only McGuffey's name was retained because of the reverence for the original versions. By this time you begin to see a wide variety of school books meeting the needs of curuculam establishged by state and local school boards. State and local school boards
select curriculum guides and textbooks that reflect a state's learning standards and benchmarks for a given grade level. Curricula in the United States can vary widely from district to district. Educators wanted distinct grade levels and less religious content. We also begin to see consumable workbooks. Early schools were basically academic. Gradually this began to change in America American primary education tends to focus on basic academic learning and socialization skills, introducing children to the broad range of knowledge, skill and behavioral adjustment they need to succeed in life. We see a lot of non-academic activities such as art. A Colorado school's art festival in 1989.
Secondary schools teach basic arithmetic and beginning with algebra advancd mathemaths. English proficiency is a focus although grammar has been deemphasized in recent years. The curriculum now includes social studies, science, physical development, and the fine arts. Many of these subjects are electives. American stydents generally have mire choics than Eyropean children. A major chang in America has been the decline of both physical educatinn and even more ugnificantly shop classes. All students ionce took at least on year of hop. This is no longer the caseas more student are being chanelled intio liberal arts programs and vocational education declines.
And as public scgools developed in Europe, they remained highly academic and even today remain more academiclly focused than American schools.
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