American Education – What Went Wrong – Education Definition

Many people have concern about what is happening with the American educational system. Politicians throw money at it in an attempt to please their electorate. Recently private schools and home schooling have gained ground and in fact produce higher academic numbers on average. But nobody that I know of has taken a look at where we went wrong and when. But first a look at when we were doing well. Noah Webster once known as the headmaster of American education and author of the first American English dictionary 1828. Noah Webster could be called one of the founding teachers. He was an educator himself and wrote many educational texts including the Blue back Speller which was the spelling book of the 19th century which had sold 80 million copies by 1899. Noah Webster said in his dictionary that education “should enlighten the understanding”.But I invite everyone to look at the full definition which can be accessed on the internet. There were others who contributed to the original philosophy of American education namely: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, the Quakers etc. etc.. Thomas Jefferson stated that “young people should study history to be able to recognize tyranny in embryo and so crush it.” So these were the individuals that were responsible for creating the original American educational philosophy which was successful. So now, what went wrong? And who is responsible? Well, it was actually a very fundamental change in the philosophy. It all started around the turn of the century. There was a new school of thought germinating from Wuntian psychology out of Germany (Wilhelm Wunt father of modern psychology). The philosophy was definitely materialistic and totally opposite of the original meaning of the word psychology – the study and doctrines of the human soul. The new idea was that humans were not spiritual beings but that we were all just animals and that the way you understand human behavior is by comparing us to animals. If you understood how a rat behaved you would then understand how a human behaved. So this philosophy was gradually entered into every university beginning at the turn of the century. It became behaviorism and that became the standard philosophy taught in colleges by 1960 to all teachers as part of there training as teachers. The teaching philosopy was conditioning and not understanding as Noah Webster had stated. A direct date coincidence with the statistics of the failure of American education. So what can we do about this? Well there is private schools or homeschooling both of which are a lot more successful on average than public schools. I am not trying to upbraid teachers as I think it is one of the most important jobs in our society and teachers are, for the most part, well intentioned. I just think they have been misinformed.We need to make education so that young people actually reach for it instead of having it forced upon them. Also education is not for the masses it should be tailored to each student. In other words each student should get the basics reading writing arithmatic. But after that they should have their own personal program based on their goals. They should be made aware of the importance of history but should explore the subject themselves and should read the writings of the people who were actually a part of history rather than somebodies interpretation of it. Example, the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.