Essay on Foundations of Education

1649 Words 7 Pages
     Among the significant figures in the history of the American Educational System, few have had as much ideological and practical influence as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Horace Mann, John Dewy, and Johann Pestolazzi. Each altered the course of American education to a degree that the developments made during and after the lifetimes of each of these figures are practically manifested in today’s educational environment. In some cases, as with Franklin, much of his contribution was practical, with the establishment of public libraries and emphasis on self-education. Others, such as Dewy, were ideological pioneers that changed the methods of education. One can never overlook the role of politics in …show more content…
If censorship is avoided, it offers anyone individual control over their education. This is an absolutely necessary step towards a free state. Control over education and literature is control over thought and social mobility. This social mobility is one of the fundamental issues Benjamin attempted to address over the course of his life. He would be one of the most influential founding members of the Academy movement in early America, which both set the stage for the first high schools as well as beginning a movement of private education that still exists as an option today.
     Although Franklin’s intention with the academy movement was to provide social mobility to anyone, the result was a system that preserved the elite and excluded most others. Today it is possible to attend private College Preparatory Schools that are much the same as they were in Franklin’s time. Most are predominantly white, with high tuition that excludes middle and lower class students. They also tend to offer an intense curriculum similar to that proposed by Franklin.
     Concurrent to the developments of Franklin were the political and philosophical changes brought by Thomas Jefferson. Although Jefferson’s ideas on education were progressive in some ways, the racial and social hierarchies that dominated the period were very apparent in his work. Although he