History and Philosophy of Education

EDAD 501
History and Philosophy of Education
Summer 2009
College of Education, Washington State University
July 6-17 (in residence in Pullman)
July 20-24 (web-based)
Time: 12:30-3:30
Location: Education Addition 116
Instructor: Paula Groves Price, PhD
Office: 334 Cleveland Hall
Phone: 335-7987
Email: pgroves@wsu.edu,
Office Hours: Daily after class
Course Overview
History and Philosophy of Education is designed to provide you opportunities to
reflect, explore, understand, and broaden your perspectives on key issues in educational
philosophy, history and reform. In this course we will read, analyze, and discuss key
readings related to the historical, political, sociological and philosophical foundations of
schooling as they relate to the modern educational reform movement. Particularly, we
will look at American educational reform efforts on the national, state, and local levels
within a historical context, and examine education and schooling from philosophical
perspectives. We will analyze trends in national and state educational reform policies, as
well as various school-based reform efforts, paying particular attention to the
philosophical ideologies that have guided school change (or lack thereof) in America.
Through class discussions, readings, and writing assignments, I encourage you to
reflect on education as an institution with a keen eye on the practices of schooling.
Central questions of the course are:
 Why educate?
 What is the purpose or aim of education?
 How do we educate in and for a pluralistic society?
How do current trends in educational reform reflect both the historical
trajectories of education and contemporary relations between the state,
politics, and the economy?
Each of these questions deals with philosophical issues, and the answers given to
such questions generally reflect certain philosophies of education. Studying educational
philosophy can help us maintain a strong link between theory and actual educational
practice. Studying theory without relation to practice can often lead to meaningless
academic exercises that are not related to the real work of teaching and learning;
Studying practice without a deep regard for theory can result in educational practices
which are ineffective and lack thoughtful foundations.
Learning about the history of schooling and education in America through
philosophical lenses can help us understand and sort through the myriad of reform efforts
that have been, and continue to be tried in America’s schools and classrooms.
Philosophical analysis can help us uncover the fundamental assumptions which undergird
reform proposals and also help us think more critically and holistically about our own
assumptions which impact our decision making in schools.
Disability Resource Center
Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If
you have a disability and may need accommodations to fully participate in this class,
please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC). All accommodations MUST be
approved through the DRC (Admin Annex Bldg, Room 205). Please stop by or call 509335-3417 to make an appointment with a disability specialist.
Required Readings
Spring, Joel (2008). The American School: From the Puritans to No Child Left Behind.
Seventh Edition. McGraw Hill.
Dewey, John. (1938) Experience and Education. New York. Touchstone.
Freire, Paulo (2000) Pedagogy of the oppressed, 30th anniversary edition. New York:
Continuum Publishing Company.
Additional Articles which will be emailed via PDF files.
Course Requirements
1. Attendance and Active Participation (10 points)
Attendance and participation is mandatory. It is expected that you will have
completed all of the course readings and participate in all of the class discussions. A
positive attitude, an open mind, a desire to learn, and a willingness to share ideas and
collaborate with others is essential for this course. Each day we will have a student
serve as a discussion leader to help guide us through a discussion of the readings. As
the discussion leader, you should prepare a few critical questions for the group. Each
student should also come to class with any questions and thoughts for a strong class
2. Daily Reflective Journals (40 Points)
You will be expected to keep a daily journal where you are actively engaging with the
reading is this course. Your journal is NOT a summary of the readings. Your journal
should be a place where you reflect on your learning experiences, the readings, and
class discussions. It is a place for you to document your reactions to the readings as
well as pose questions that you are struggling with in relation to philosophy and the
history of educational reform. It should also be a place for you to reflect on how you
are thinking about your own experiences as a professional or ways that you feel you
might use some of the information in this course to improve practices in your own
schools/districts. You may wish to respond to particular quotes or the readings and
class discussion in general. You may also find it helpful to document quotes that may
be helpful or pertinent for you as you begin to think about your dissertation research.
In some instances, the instructor will pose particular questions for you to reflect upon
in your journals.
3. Socio-Cultural Autobiography (30 points) (Pre-Requisite assignment)
Most of the decisions that we make as educators are based in part on our
philosophies of what we believe is the larger purpose of education, our philosophies
of what we believe works best, and our philosophies of what we generally believe is
the “right” thing to do. Rarely, however, do we take the time to reflect upon and
unpack where these core philosophies and beliefs that influence us emerged. Prepare
an autobiographical paper describing your personal, educational/professional
background. Reflect on your life and your schooling experiences and analyze the
roles diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, or linguistic contexts have had on your life.
Explore your identity(s) and your positionality and the impact your background has
on the way that you view the world. You may also want to include a discussion of
your family, including the origins of your ancestors, and the impact your family and
experiences has had on your attitudes and beliefs toward diversity, multiculturalism,
teaching, and learning. How have your experiences and beliefs translated into your
practices an educator? How have your experiences and beliefs impacted your
expectations of others in school settings? Feel free to play around with “voice” in this
paper—you may write in narrative style, you can write a descriptive case study of
yourself, or you may choose to write an analytical paper. Sometimes it is difficult to
write about ourselves, so you may want to take an anthropological approach and
“make the familiar strange” by having someone interview you and tape record your
interview. You will be amazed the things you will learn about yourself that you
would not have otherwise thought to ask or write about. This assignment includes a
5-10 minute presentation to the class. Because I am a believer in tapping into symbols
of identity as a way to feel, explain, and discuss culture, you should bring in some
type of visual illustration (photos, art, artifacts, recordings, or symbolic items) to
supplement your talk.
4. Reaction Paper (10 points) (Pre-requisite assignment)
Each student is asked to submit a typed, double-spaced reaction paper, not to exceed four
pages, based upon the collective reading of the two articles below, which are being sent
to you as PDF attachments. The reaction paper should contain references to the
information in the articles and address what implications such information will have for
leadership and instructional practices in schools. The deadline for the reaction paper is
June 22, 2009, or before. Your paper should be sent electronically to Dr. Price at
Inheriting the Education Wars. Phi Delta Kappan 90(6) February 2009
The Ideology of the American Dream: Two competing philosophies
in education, 1776-2006.
Educational Studies, 41(2) April 2007
5. District Audit and Interviews about School Reform (50 points) (Pre-requisite
Part I: District Audit--Data Gathering
A. Secure a copy of your school district’s mission statement, or statement of vision, for the
education of all students in the district.
B. Secure a copy of any reform efforts (curricular, instructional, organizational) adopted by
your district which are required for all schools to follow.
B. Secure a district- wide profile of all school administrators, faculty, staff, and ancillary
workers by racial/ethnic classification and gender.
C. Secure a district-wide demographic profile of all students within the district
D. Secure a demographic profile of students in each school within the district.
Conclusion (written): Using bullet points, what can you conclude about the racial/ethnic
make-up of your school district relative to the diversity of administrators, faculty, staff,
ancillary workers, and students? What can you conclude about the demographic profile of
each school within your district? What is the district philosophy for the education of all
students? What connections or disconnects do you see between the district philosophy and
the reform efforts required?
Part II: Administrator and Teacher Interviews
Interview one principal and one teacher within your district using the following interview
guide. Please feel free to ask additional questions. At the conclusion of your interviews, write
a paper which analyzes the responses of your participants and your data gathered from your
district audit. Pay particular attention to the similarities and differences in the responses from
the practicing teacher and principal in the district. Some questions to consider for your paper
include: What philosophies do your participants hold regarding teaching, learning, and
education? How is this similar or different to the district and school vision? What underlying
philosophies serve as the basis for the reforms used in the district/school? How do these
philosophies lay out in practice?
Note: Please provide a statement to the principal and teacher being interviewed that his/her
comments will be held in the strictest professional confidence. Assure them that you will
provide a pseudonym for them. Reporting on the ethnic/racial and gender identity of your
participants should be included in your report and will only be viewed by me.
Tell me about this school. (Probe for race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic
status of students, teachers, administrators as well as general demographic numbers).
2. What is the overall mission or vision for this school?
3. What is your philosophy or vision of education?
4. How long have you been a principal/teacher? Has your philosophy changed over
5. How do the school mission and your personal mission/vision play out in classroom
instruction and school wide events? Can you provide me some specific examples?
6. What celebrations or activities are incorporated into the general routine, or pattern, of
life in your school?
7. What is your vision of how diversity and multicultural education should play a role in
the educational and co-curricular activities of students in your school?
8. What is your understanding of the district vision of diversity and multicultural
9. What school reform initiatives has your school/district adopted recently? (curriculum
packages, governance or management models, etc)
10. How have these initiatives impacted your teaching/leadership in the
11. What were the major reasons your school/district decided to implement these
programs? What process did the school/district use to approve the implementation of
such programs?
12. What kinds of policy or structural and/or systemic changes would you like to see
promoted/adopted that would improve the schooling experiences of students in your
6. Democracy Paper (10 Points)
In a paper not to exceed 4 pages, describe the relationship that you see among
democracy, critical thinking, and education. Begin by defining democracy as you
understand it (and in relation to the readings) and reflect upon three key ideas within
Dewey’s and/or Freire’s writings that speak to your definition of democracy. What
is/should be the relationship between democracy and education? What should schools
do differently to better cultivate democracy? What will you do differently in your
practice as an educator?
7. Final Project (50 Points)
The final project is an application of what you have learned/discovered/realized from
your participation, readings, and individual research in this class about Philosophy
and Educational Reform. Final Projects should be between 8-12 pages (double
spaced, 12 point font) and submitted electronically by July 24th. Examples of Final
Projects include:
Research and analysis of a school-based reform effort
An Analysis of the Achievement Gap in light of history and/or philosophical
Research and analysis of a particular state/district vision and implementation
of Educational Reform
A re-articulation of a School Improvement Plan in light of philosophy
and/historical knowledge gained in the course
Application of educational philosophy to one of your academic interests
Propose a paper topic to me! Make sure we talk BEFORE you leave Pullman!
Grading Scale
Letter Grade
July 6
Where are we now?
Beach article
Lewis Article
July 7
July 8
Thinking critically about
The Common School
“One Best System”
Schooling for what and
for whom?
Spring 1-3
July 9
July 10th
Experience and Education Read Dewy (All)
July 13
July 14
July 15
July 16
July 17th
Multiculturalism and the
history of education for
“dominated cultures”
Pedagogy of the
Media, Popular culture,
and national policy
A Nation at Risk?
Meritocracy and the
politics of knowledge
Education in the 21st
Century—What now?
Spring 4-6
Sharing of socio-cult
Discuss response papers
Watch excerpt of “In the
White man’s image”
What are different
Philosophies of
Assessing your own
Dewey Activity
Spring 7-8,
Friere forward-1
Watch Time Wise video
on privilege
Friere 2-end
Hytten article
Spring 12-13
Power, liberation, and
education group activity
Democracy Paper DUE
Borek, Hunt, and
Granger articles
Spring 9
Spring 10, 11
A Nation at Risk activity
Spring 14,15
Start Battle over School
Finish “battle over
school choice”
Additional Articles (emailed PDF Files)
Monday July 6
Lewis, A.C.
Monday July 6
Beach, J.M.
Friday July 10
Hytten, K
Weds July 15
Borek, J.
Weds July 15
Hunt, J.W.
Weds July 16
Granger, S
Inheriting the Education Wars. Phi Delta Kappan 90(6)
February 2009
The Ideology of the American Dream: Two competing
philosophies in education, 1776-2006.
Educational Studies, 41(2) April 2007
Philosophy and the Art of Teaching for Social Justice
Philosophy of Education Yearbook 2006
A Nation at Risk at 25 Phi Delta Kappan 89(8) April
A Nation at Risk and No Child Left Behind: Deja vu
for Administrators? Phi Delta Kappan 89(8) April 2008
No Child Left Behind and the Spectacle of Failing
Schools: The Mythology of Contemporary School