Other people’s words that I recommend reading:
Tsundoku is a Japanese word that refers to the act of buying books and letting them pile up, unread. I deeply, deeply appreciate this word and hope English adopts it in my lifetime. I have shelves of unread books related to education – including history. I do, however, read as many as I can and when I’m asked for recommendations, suggest the following:
- The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession (2014) by Dana Goldstein. It’s an easy read – full of compelling narratives and familiar touchstones from education so as she’s laying on the complexity, you don’t feel overwhelmed by the history.
- Blackboard Unions: The AFT and the NEA, 1900-1980 (1990) by Marjorie Murphy. An older book, it has new meaning in light of current events. It gets at the tension between the male-dominated model of labor unions with the goals of a female-dominated profession and how unions have been fight for students and better learning conditions from the beginning.
- First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School (2013) by Allison Stewart.I had no idea about the history of Dunbar until I came across this book. Stewart introduces the reader to Anna Julia Cooper, who, in a just world, would be as famous as Horace Mann.
And in case you’re seeing a pattern – yes, there is a book called Classroom Wars. It’s by Natalia Mehlman Petrzela and it’s on my summer reading list. It’s about changes in language, curriculum, and school design based on political events in the 1960’s.
- Human Restoration Project S2, E17: Is the factory model a myth?
- Visions of Education E46: Women in Education History
- Ask Historians E121: Education of America with EdHistory 101
- Ed: Conversations about the Teacher Life: E56: Changing the Narrative
- Empowerment Starts Here: E44: Case of the Awkward White Feminist
- Truth for Teachers: E153: Why teachers are historically overworked & undervalued (and how to disrupt the pattern)
Answers about the history of:
- Long Answer: When exactly were US students first introduced to the class “American History”?
- Short: At what point did enough events happen in the United States for schools to begin teaching US History?
- Short: When did schools in the US start teaching US history?
- Short: What kind of history did schools teach in America in the years following the American Revolution?
- Short: In the early years of the USA, if I was able to afford a decent education, what history would I learn?
- What was foreign language education like for American students before the 20th century?
- Why don’t educated people learn Latin and Ancient Greek as often as they used to?
- How did children learn the alphabet before the well-known ABC song was first copyrighted in 1835?
college or university life in America
- In the 19th Century, what were students doing when they were carrying out “recitations” in University.
- How far back until HS becomes University?
- How did CollegeBoard manage to get its SAT and AP tests to be such important steps in getting into most universities in the US?
- Why do American high schools and universities use the nomenclature “freshman, sophomore, junior, senior” instead of, e.g., 1st-year, 2nd-year, etc.? How did that develop?
- It is 1800 and I live in Boston. It is time to apply for college. How do I do that? How do I know which colleges exist?
- Why didn’t everyone attend higher education during American colonial times? Was it just something children of elites did?
- Why did John Quincy Adams have to go to Harvard?
- How did university admissions work before a standardized testing/grading system?
the school calendar
- With the closing of the Academic year coming, it must be asked: why is the modern Western academic year set to begin in the fall and end in the spring, instead of beginning in the spring and ending in the winter?
- In the United States, a work week from Monday to Friday with Saturday and Sunday taken off as weekends became standard in the first half of the 20th century. How long did it take for schools to adopt a Monday to Friday schedule?
General answers about American education:
- How did primary/secondary school become publicly funded in the United States?
- Was the U.S. the first country with Public Schooling?
- How did Teachers in a One Room Schoolhouse teach multiple ages of Children?
- When, how, and why did K-12 public education become standard in the US? Related, when did the US achieve universal literacy?
- What was rural education like in the United States in the 1950s?
- How influential was the “Prussian Model” or Common School Movement of Horace Mann on the development of the U.S. public school system?
- How did citizens in the US and western Europe react to government run public schooling?
Answers related to the history of education of/about people of color:
- Did many enslaved African Americans actually run through Union lines to escape, or was this relatively uncommon?
- Would Native American culture have been completely wiped out if it hadn’t been for the Indian re-education schools of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s?
- How quickly did African slaves in North America lose their traditional language, religion, and culture?
- What evidence do Americans have that slaves were taught to read and/or write during or after abolition?
- Pre-Civil rights movement in the states, how were other races segregated? ( i.e hispanic, asian) Did all POC Go to “black” Schools?
- Why, 150 years after the Civil War, is the US so seemingly more affected by the scars of slavery than other WH countries, even those whose experience was harsher?
- Why do we only cover black accomplishments in the US history curriculum while only touching on the other minorities.
Answers to general questions:
- Children can be difficult to locate in history- they don’t write and leave little material footprint. What are the theoretical and methodological concerns when studying the history of childhood?
- How did black women’s suffrage/minority women’s suffrage differ from white women’s suffrage?
- What are the factors in the history of the public perception of teachers?