By: Supreme Court of New Jersey
Date: October 16, 1950
Source: Doremus et al. v. Board of Education of Borough of Hawthorne et al. 5 N.J. 435, 75 A 2d 880 (1950).
The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights sought to secure religious freedom against encroachment by the state through the First Amendment to the Constitution. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Put simply, this statement provides the basis for the separation of church and state.
In the early nineteenth century, those working toward a system of publicly funded and universally attended common schools had to address the issues of religious diversity and separation of church and state. For most people at the time, education meant moral and character training within the context of a particular religion. Yet, if schools were to be tax supported and attended by all, they had to be free of the influence of any religious sect. School reformer Thomas Mann maintained that schools had to teach a set of nonsectarian moral values common to all.
It was not, at the time, contemplated that schools would be free of any religious...
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"8 Teacher Ousters in Communist Case Asked by Examiner"
By: Murray Illson
Date: December 13, 1950
Source: Illson, Murray. "8 Teacher Ousters in Communist Case Asked by Examiner." The New York Times, December 13, 1950, 1, 26.
About the Author: Murray Illson (1913–) received a bachelor's from New York University. He worked as a writer and reporter for the New York Times beginning in 1937, leaving to serve in World War II (1939–1945). In 1941, he resumed his position as a writer and reporter for the Times, where he worked until his retirement in 1978.
After World War I (1914–1918), as Americans watched the unfolding of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent spread of socialist ideas in Europe, the United States was swept by a wave of nationalism and suspicion of anything foreign or radical. The "Red Scare" was characterized by a fear that communists were infiltrating American institutions, including schools, and plotting the overthrow of the U.S. government. The perceived need to protect children from communist propaganda led to dismissals of many teachers at all levels of education for infractions such as failing to take "loyalty oaths," belonging to subversive organizations, or even being suspected of having communist ideas....
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Defining "Equal" in Higher Education
Sweatt v. Painter
Supreme Court decision
By: Fred M. Vinson
Source: Sweatt v. Painter. 339 U.S. 629, 70 Sup. Ct. 848 (1950). Reproduced in Knight, Edgar W., and Clifton L. Hall. Readings in American Educational History. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1951, 698–700.
McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents
Supreme Court decision
By: Fred M. Vinson
Source: McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents. 339 U.S. 637, 70 Sup. Ct. 851 (1950). Reproduced in Knight, Edgar W., and Clifton L. Hall. Readings in American Educational History. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1951, 698–700.
About the Author: Fred M. Vinson (1890–1953) received undergraduate and law degrees from Center College and began a law practice in Kentucky. In 1924, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served six terms. In 1945, Vinson was appointed as secretary of the treasury. In 1946, he was nominated by President Harry S. Truman (served 1945–1953) for chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a position he held until his death in 1953.
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God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of "Academic Freedom"
By: William F. Buckley Jr.
Date: August 1951
Source: Buckley, William F., Jr. God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of "Academic Freedom." Chicago: Regnery, 1986, lvii–lxiii.
About the Author: William F. Buckley Jr. (1925–), author and television personality, founded the National Review in 1955 and served as its editor-in-chief. A well-known conservative, he hosted the television discussion program Firing Line from 1966 to 1999. Buckley is the author of a series of spy novels and is a syndicated columnist. He is also the author of Nearer My God: An Autobiography of Faith (1997).
William F. Buckley Jr.'s undergraduate experience at Yale University in the late 1940s and early 1950s was not what he had expected. While fond of Yale for a variety of other reasons, he was disturbed by what he saw as a bias of the faculty toward atheist and socialist ideals. An advocate of Christianity and individualism, Buckley expected to find these values and beliefs reflected in the curriculum of Yale. The history of the institution provides a partial explanation for these expectations.
Yale, along with other early colleges such as Harvard University, the College of William and Mary,...
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What Educational TV Offers You
By: Jack Mabley
Source: Mabley, Jack. What Educational TV Offers You. Public Affairs Pamphlet no. 203. New York: The Public Affairs Committee, 1954.
About the Author: Jack Mabley (1915–) earned a degree from the University of Illinois in 1938. He was a columnist, reporter, and television editor with the Chicago Daily News from 1938 to 1961, and then a columnist and editor for the Chicago American and later the Chicago Tribune. In 2003, Mabley was a columnist for the Daily Herald, in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
The 1950s saw a tremendous expansion of television viewing. While some had already become leery of the potential negative effects of television, many had high hopes for the educational possibilities of the new technology. Here was a way for everyone to be able to access the best in education and culture—the medium could be the tool that would finally bring educational equality to the masses. Everything from arts events to "how to" programs to language courses could be made available to the general population regardless of income or location. Educational uses for television developed during the 1950s included classroom instruction, education for homebound...
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Why Johnny Can't Read—and What You Can Do About It
By: Rudolf Flesch
Source: Flesch, Rudolf. Why Johnny Can't Read—and What You Can Do About It. New York: Harper, 1955. Reprint, Harper and Row, 1986, 4–18.
About the Author: Rudolf Flesch (1911–1986), an Austrian-born educator, was the author of a number of books on speaking, reading, and writing including The Art of Plain Talk (1946), The Art of Readable Writing (1949), and The Art of Clear Thinking (1951). Flesch was best known as an advocate for the phonics method of reading instruction.
When Rudolf Flesch's grandson, "Johnny," was having trouble with reading, Flesch began to work with him and found, to his surprise, that the twelve-year-old did not know the sounds associated with the letters of the alphabet and could not "sound out" words. Rather, he attempted to guess each word. Within a few months, Flesch taught him to read using a phonic approach. Starting with the sounds of the language and matching them to letters or letter combinations, he taught Johnny to decode words.
Meanwhile, Flesch began to investigate the way reading was taught in American schools. Flesch found that the method being used in most U.S. schools was the "look-say"...
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A Report to the President: The Committee for the White House Conference on Education—Full Report.
Date: April 1956
Source: A Report to the President: The Committee for the White House Conference on Education—Full Report. Washington, D.C., April 1956, 3342–3347.
Throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, strong opposition to U.S. government involvement in education was an obstacle to passing federal legislation or allocating federal funds. Some contended that such involvement was unconstitutional. For example, the Tenth Amendment reserves to the states any powers not specifically granted to the federal government—education is not mentioned in the Constitution. Others argued that federal funding meant federal control in opposition to the long-cherished tradition of local control of education in United States. Since every locality is different, it was asserted, the local authorities are in the best position to make decisions for local schools. Many feared the development of a national school system controlled by federal bureaucrats far removed from the concerns and needs of individual communities. Of particular concern to many was the possibility that federal funds would mean demands for school desegregation.
The Great Depression and World War II (1939–1945) brought a new or larger role for the federal government...
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Education of Mentally Retarded Children Act
Date: September 6, 1958
Source: Education of Mentally Retarded Children Act. U.S. Statutes at Large 72 (1958), 1777.
The development of common schools in the early nineteenth century was based on the ideal of providing publicly funded education for all children. Certain groups of children, including those with disabilities, were routinely excluded, and the ideal of "schools for all" did not become a reality until the 1970s.
In the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century, students with disabilities had limited choices. Often denied education in the public schools, most had a choice between staying at home or institutionalization. Some students had access to boarding schools for specific disabilities, such as for the blind or deaf. These specific schools were supported by private donations or, sometimes, by state or federal funds. By 1900, a few states had public school programs serving students with certain types of disabilities. And even though compulsory education laws were in place nationwide near the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, public schools were still permitted to refuse students who were deemed "uneducable."
Little progress was made in disability education until the 1950s. A catalyst for...
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The Cold War's Effect on U.S. Education
Summary of Major Provisions of the
National Defense Education Act of
By: Elliot Lee Richardson
Source: National Defense Education Act. U.S. Statutes at Large 72 (1958), 1580–1605. Summary of the act by the Center for the Studies of Higher Education. Available online at ; website home page: http://ishi.lib.berkeley.edu/cshe/ndea/index.html (accessed June 5, 2003).
About the Author: Elliot Lee Richardson (1920–1999) earned degrees from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He was the lieutenant governor and attorney general of Massachusetts. Richardson held a number of high-level positions in the federal government, including secretary of health, education, and welfare; secretary of defense; U.S. attorney general; and ambassador to Great Britain. He was the author of several books.
Soviet Commitment to Education:
Report of the First Official U.S.
Education Mission to the U.S.S.R.
By: Lawrence G. Derthick
Source: U.S. Education Mission to...
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Education and Liberty: The Role of the Schools in a Modern Democracy
By: James Bryant Conant
Source: Conant, James Bryant. Education and Liberty: The Role of the Schools in a Modern Democracy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 76–87.
About the Author: James Bryant Conant (1893–1978) earned a bachelor's and doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, where he later taught. He was president of Harvard from 1933 to 1953. Conant was the chairman of the National Defense Research Committee and served as the U.S. high commissioner to West Germany. He conducted a study of U.S. high schools for the Carnegie Corporation, and the report was published as The American High School Today: A First Report to Interested Citizens (1959). Conant was the author of many books.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, one of the arguments in favor of the development of tax-supported schools for all children was that such schools would unify the diverse population of the new country. Common schools could instill patriotism and loyalty to the United States and teach children to think of themselves as Americans rather than, for example, Germans, southerners, or Virginians. Common school reformers asserted that the survival of the new nation depended on...
(The entire section is 3404 words.)
The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir
By: Daisy Bates
Source: Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1962.
About the Author: Daisy Bates (1914–1999) was born in Huttig, Arkansas, where she attended segregated public schools. In 1952 Bates became president of the Arkansas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She is most famous for serving as an advocate for the Little Rock Nine—the African American students who entered all-white Central High in 1957. She continued to play an active role in community organizations until her death.
The middle of the twentieth century was a period of sweeping changes in American history, as civil rights activists worked toward equality for African Americans. The 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, was an important move toward equality. That ruling found school segregation (separate schools for African Americans and whites) unconstitutional, paving the way for desegregation throughout society.
Many people, especially in the southern United States, opposed the Brown ruling and tried to prevent desegregation from happening. The vast majority of southern...
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