Influences on Text Selections for Schools: Religion, Industrialization, and Politics

  • Church influences on what to read

    Prior to 1607, in England, the church (first Catholic, then Protestant) still was still in control of the materials people used to learn to read (Smith, p.9)
  • Massachusetts shapes policy of Early American Schools

    The Massachusetts General Court passes the following law: "It being one chief point of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times, by keeping them in an unknown tounge, so in these latter times, by persuading from the use of tounges, that so at last the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded by false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers, that learning might not be buried in the grave of our fathers in the church and commonwealth..
  • Hornbooks

    Hornbooks are used for two purposes: catechisms and giving children thier first reading experience (Smith, p.14). Update: This signifies that religion still dominated every aspect of American life, and religion is what influences teachers in text selection.
  • The first textbook is printed in America

    The Protestant tutor is printed by Sam Green and sold by John Griffin in Boston in 1685 (Smith, p.16).
  • Reading Materials in the 1700s

    Beginning in 1744, advertisments being to appear for British ABCs and Psalters (Smith, p.13). Update: American educators looked to England to determine what should be taught to American schoolchildren.
  • The infulences of what to read changes.

    With an emerging nation, primers take on more secular tone (Smith, p. 33). Even the naames of the texts take on a more patriotic tone (Smith p.34).

    Update: As national pride grew, text selection changed from relgious to ptriotic and secular. Being an Amrerican was the values that were now taught.
  • Revolution changes things.

    Moral lessons become the focus of primers instead of religious instruction (Smith p. 38).
    Update: American publishers begin to publish American primers, continuing with the wave of Patriotism.
  • American Spelling Book

    The American Spelling book becomes the first in a seris ofbooks for children. The three books are the first set of readers produced. (Smith p. 40).
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    1807-1830

    Series and spellers become popular. Noah Webster writes the "Blue-Back Speller" and series such as the American class readercover things like reading, geography and grammar (Smith p.39, p.59).
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    Influences of Horace Mann

    Horace Mann changed our models for early childhood education, and therefore what we, as teachers, provide to our students to read. He encourages us to look to the Prussians and Germans for reading inststruction (Smith, p. 73).
  • Changing Tide of Reasons for Education.

    Smith writes, "Educators came to realize that that the success of the new democracy depended not so largely upon arounsing patriotic sentiment as upon developing the inteliigence of the people, whose ballots were to choose its leaders and determine its policies" (p. 70). This signifies a large change in a short period of time. The purpose went from patriotic furvor for the new country to creating infromed productive citizens. We can still see this effect on our ecuation system.
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    1840-1880 Germans vs. Americans

    Smith writes, "In examining several German readers published between 1840 and 1880, one finds...abundant provision for materials on the subjects of science, nature study, geography, history, and general informational content (p. 74).
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    Reading becomes more about literature.

    Herbartian pedagogy is brought to America. It focusues on "literary interest and appreciation in the teaching of reading (Smith, p. 111). This influences schools systems to teach literature. Flint, MI instrucued this for the 1902-1903 school year, and teachers are still teaching literature in the classroom.
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    Silent Reading takes off

    As the importance of slient reading is discovered, professional literature is deveolped. (Smith, p.156). hese are materials on how to teach silent reading to students. This influences what literature isx taught in the classroom.
  • Back Towards Phonics

    Why Johnny Can't Read—And What You Can Do About It by Rudolf Flesch is published and "turns the pendulum back towards phonics" (Lemann, p. 4).
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    Changing Ideas About Literature

    The idea of intertextuality comes into the literary zeitgeist challenging previous held beliefs about literature (Fleming, p. 6).
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    Whole Language Introduction

    Whole language movement begins. Public schools in California adopt whole language based on Marie Clay's work integrating whole language and phonics (Lemann, p. 2-3).
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    Restricting School Funding

    As Governor of California, Ronald Regan created revenue limits and reduced school funding. It is not clear if this also had a negative impact on students reading abilites in addtion to whole language (Lemann, p. 4).
  • Reading Recovery

    Marie Clay develops the Reading Recovery Program in New Zealand.
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    Against the Traditonal Cannon and Back Again

    There were attemps to broaden the canon and more inclusive, and then there was a conservative backlash against using the tradition canon (Fleming, p.3).
  • Deciding What is Literature

    Terry Eagleton publishes Literary Theory and Introduction, and attempts to define literature. Philosophical texts, letters, essays,and sermons are counted as literature (Fleming, p. 6).
  • Time Allocation

    Richard Allington argues that the more time students have in the classroom reading, the better readers they are (p.549, 1983). Unfortunately, we don't have that kind of time for our students, especially in the high school classroom. Between budget cuts, and testing students aren't able to spend the kind of time they need in the classroom reading.
  • Creating Frameworks

    Governor of California, Bill Honig commisions frameworks for the state. Whole language worked it's way into the frameworks under the guise of teaching literature (Lemann, p.8).
  • Standards based reforms begin

    Mathis and Welner write, "Current policy fails to provide the schooling supports necessary for student success and largely ignores the many opportunity gaps children face outside of school that powerfully affect school performance. Standards-based accountability reform as originally conceived in the late 1980s acknowledged the importance of these factors" (2015).
  • A Note on Reforms

    Joann Nichols writes in 2009, quoting Slavin, "One of the most pervasivereasons for the continued educational pendulum is that educators rarely wait for, or demand, hardevidence before adopting new practices on a wide scale (Slavin, 1989)." This is important to note because of the ways in which it effects classroom instruction. Because we do not give a method enough time to suceed or fail, we will continue to struggle in terms of policy.
  • Bleeding Over into Math

    The California State Board of Education adopted math frame works that, like whole language, moved away from computations and basic skills (Lemann, p.12).
  • Scores for Whole Language

    Students taught whole languageare at a disadvantage. 77% of students taught with the whole language method acored below grade level on a 4th grade test in California (Lemann, p.12).
  • Reversal

    The California Legislature uninanimously passed two bills reversing the math frameworks as well as the whole language frameworks (Lemann, p. 12).
  • Loss of Choice

    Becuae of NCLB, teachers begin to lose choice in the classroom in order to reaise test scores. Mathis and Welner write, "thus, even while test scores may have inched up, other facets of students’ education have suffered" (2015).
  • No Child Left Behind

    NCLB is enacted with the "ambitious belief that if we test children and hold educators responsible for improving test scores, we would have almost everyone scoring as “proficient” by 2014. Thus, we would achieve “equality.” This approach has not worked" (Mathis and Welner, 2015).
  • Effects on Different Subjects

    Math and English are teste the most, and because if this schools lose a focus on other subjects. Cawelti writes, "Schools end up narrowing the curriculum because they are under considerable pressure to show adequate yearly progress in reading and math" (2006).
  • A consensus is being reached

    Nichols writes that, "The consensus for optimal reading pedagogy is for dynamic and flowing, interacting double lines, a multidisciplinary approach (p. 2). This is an encouraging thought. Hopefully, reading instruction can be balanced, and letft to the teacher to understand her own students, and their needs.
  • Re-Write of NCLB

    Cory Turner of NPR reports that, "Congress is trying to do something it was supposed to do back in 2007: agree on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act" (2015). This is becsuse the law expired in 2007, but nothing has replaced it. The law is highky unpopular with teachers.
  • Changes to the Law

    Motoko Rich of The New York Times writes that changes have been made for the greater good. He says, The new agreement allows states and local school districts to determine how to define and respond to poor performance. And unlike the No Child law, the new bill would not require that all children reach proficiency in reading and math by a certain date" (2015).
  • Every Student Succeeds Act

    The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed on Dec. 10,2015. This strips away No Child Left Behind, and reduces federal standardized testing (Schuman 2015).
  • Predicted Changes for Education

    As with the past, changes are coming, and Samantha Cole predicts that with the change in technology, and changes in education policy that one major change will be the shift to an online model (2015).