DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Roashell Bonadie

Education 355 – Critical Issues in the History of Education

Dr. Diaz

May 24, 2012


Question: Imagine that you are the new chancellor for Education for New York City. You are addressing an audience that includes parents, teachers, students and administrator for the first time. Explain what you believe to be the most critical issue in education today, its history and what you as chancellor will do to solve the problem ( be sure to include you four references, including the Tyack text, three recommendations, as a complete genealogical history and Bibliography).


Good evening administrative staff, parents, teachers, and students. I am thankful that you have elected me as the new chancellor for Education in New York and I am looking forward to serving you.  I am so pleased to address you on the most critical issue that the education system is facing today, which is on Immigration. Immigration is at the back bone of American history and it is an issue that cannot be denied. For year’s people has been migrating to the U.S and still are migrating. In the article Children of Immigration by Suarez-Orozco she sates that “immigration is structured by extremely powerful and global social, economic, and cultural factors that democratic nations cannot easily regulate with unilateral policy initiatives.” (Orozco 2002) Immigration is a big issue and we have to cater for these children as they come into the U.S. since people are always in search of better opportunities, one of them being education.  

As the new chancellor I strongly believe in education and I believe that we as a nation should cater for all our children so that they can have a proper education. Education can be seen as a faction for the progress of the human being. It helps the individual to attain intellectual, physical and spiritual or emotional progress. In some ways, it helps the individual to live a happier life. For people without education, living securely tends to be difficult, especially in today’s modern society where specific skills are often needed to work. Besides, when you can apply for a job knowing that you have the qualifications and the skills necessary for that particular occupation, education can then be turned into real wealth. Understanding how the world around us functions produces contentment, a kind of contentment that does not disappear. In the book The One Best System, David Tyack, Tyack wrote on the importance of education, he stated that “schooling was essential because it adapted people to the new disciplines and incentives of urban-industrial order….In effect some saw the school as a critical means of transforming the pre-industrial culture-values and attitudes, work habits, time orientation, even recreations-of citizens in a modernizing society” (Tyack 1974) In other words school was set up to help advancement of society.  According to Sergio (2009), education not only creates a better human being but also contributes to the transformation of society. (Sergio 2009) As agreeable at it may seem that one should have an education, it has not been easy for the different immigrant groups that came to America to achieve an education. There were many struggles that took place and are still taken place. In order for us to move forward I want us to understand the history of education as it pertains to immigrants.   

The history of education in American society goes way back. Early American education was primarily private or religious, and it brought mass schooling and literacy to the nation well before the public school system we know today was legislated into existence.  Public schooling arose in response to an influx of immigrants who had different religions or cultures. The school in American culture had different classifications. Margaret Mead stated that there were three different types of school which began with the Little Red House; this school setting existed “only in backward and forgotten areas of the country.” (Mead p.7) Then there was the Academy School which housed the “children of the privileged.” (Mead p. 8) and lastly the city school, that was situated in urban societies and belong to children of immigrants.   

Jefferson was the first American leader to suggest creating a public school system. His ideas formed the basis of education systems developed in the 19th century. The most preliminary form of public education was in existence in the 1600s in the New England colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. The overriding belief on educating the children was more due to religious reasons and was easy to implement, as the only groups in existence were the Puritans and the Congregationalists. However, the influx of people from many countries and belonging to different faiths led to a weakening of the concept. People refused to learn only in English and opposed the clergy imposing their religious views through public education. By the middle of the eighteenth century, private schooling had become the norm.  After the Declaration of Independence, 14 states had their own constitutions by 1791, and out of the 14, 7 states had specific provisions for education. Jefferson believed that education should be under the control of the government, free from religious biases, and available to all people irrespective of their status in society. Others who vouched for public education around the same time were Benjamin Rush, Noah Webster, Robert Coram and George Washington. It was still very difficult to translate the concept to practice because of the political upheavals, vast immigration, and economic transformations. Thus, even for many more decades, there were many private schools, and charitable and religious institutions dominating the scene.  The common-school reformers argued for the case on the belief that common schooling could create good citizens unite society and prevent crime and poverty. As a result of their efforts, free public education at the elementary level was available for all American children by the end of the 19th century. (Thattai 2001)

Immigrant children arrived at American schools today from very different backgrounds and we as a school community have to cater for all of the students’ needs. These different groups of immigrants to the U.S. have helped form public education. Europeans and African Americans were one of the first groups that influenced the education system. However, while Whites were allow to go to school African Americans were not allowed. David Cohen in his article Immigrants and the Schools wrote that “Schooling…worked for immigrants who arrived from Europe around the turn of the century, but has not had the same effect for Negroes.” (Cohen 1970 p 15) African American was brought to the U.S. as slaves so they were not seen as humans who needed an education. Public education met the needs of Europeans but was not performing the same service for Negroes, however some Negroes leaned to read alongside their masters’ children or sometimes their masters would pay for their schooling. Negroes wanted an education and fought long and hard to gain access to equal rights in education.   

Today immigrant parents and their children are very aware of the importance of education to their future success. Suarez-Orozco stated People are always looking for a way out of poverty and especially in the Caribbean and Latin American countries where poverty is rampant, migration is an option that can bring immense wealth to their families. Immigrants want better opportunities for their children and schooling is the main opportunity for their children to succeed in life. No matter what it takes these parents are willing to pay the price for their children’s success.  These parents encourages their children to cultivated the aspects of culture in their new setting however, many of the immigrant parents strongly resist a whole array of cultural models and social practices in American youth culture that they consider highly undesirable. Immigrant parents reject and resist the American culture even though they want their children to succeed. (Orozco 2002)

As chancellor I will work hard in making sure that immigrants are getting the necessary help they need to succeed in our schools.  My recommendation as the chancellor is that our attention should be focused on the Childs’ education. Also we must encourage partnerships between the school and home, since many immigrants can feel a sense of solitude when migrating to another country. And also if you speak a different language, we must have schools that cater to their needs so that it does not slow down the students’ academic process while they are learning to speak English. 







Cohen, David. (19970) Immigrants and the Schools, American Educational Research Association.

Mead, Margaret (1951) The School In American Culture, Oxford University Press.

Sergio, J., Eurich-Fulcer, R., & Britt, C. 91994). Teachers, computer tutors, and teaching: The

artificially intelligent tutor as an agent for classroom change. American Educational

Research Journal,


Thattai, Deeptha. (1991). A History of Public Education in the United States


Tyack. David B. (1974) The One Best System. A History of American Urban Education, Havard

            University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England


Orozco, Carola Suárez (2001)  Children of Immigration, President and Fellows of Harvard College

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.