Learning in Mind

Rethinking the Purpose of Education

The Foundations of American Public Education—Then and Now


In order to understand how American public education arrived at its current state, it is imperative to understand its original purpose, as well as the beliefs on which it was founded. Be advised that some material is repeated in part in several articles, but with a different focus. Although the articles may be read in any order, you may find it easier to follow if they are read in this order.

The Myth of the Average Man

Based on the groundbreaking book, The End of Average by Dr. Todd Rose, this article traces the ideas on which American public education was built to invalid and biased interpretations of statistics in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Historical Purpose of American Public Education

This article focuses on the original purpose of compulsory public education in the United States, and where the concepts of standards and standardized assessment came from.

The Lasting Influence of Scientific Management

Learn how Industrial Age thinking and beliefs about the purpose of education and standardized assessment continue to be the dominant factors in public education despite growing research on authentic learning and authentic assessment.

The Meaning and Purpose of Education

Explore the question that should, but often doesn't, lie at the heart of any decisions about education. There is no consensus on the purpose of education. Without that, how can we possibly know whether schools are succeeding or failing?

The Reigning Paradigm in American Public Education: Part 1

Examine the rhetoric and assumptions of the Academic Achievement Paradigm, which forms the basis of one-size-fits-all standardized education.

The Reigning Paradigm in American Public Education: Part 2

Continue the discussion of the Academic Achievement Paradigm by examining its negative consequences, as well as its failure to close the so-called "achievement gap."

An Alternate Paradigm for Education: Part 1

This article begins with an analysis of the story/myth that people have come to believe about education and why that story has failed many of our children. An alternate paradigm based on Human Development is introduced.

An Alternate Paradigm for Education: Part 2

Examine the assumptions and positive consequences of the Human Development paradigm, as well as exploring any potential negative consequences.

Exam Hall

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