The Common School Movement took place on the early 1800's and was championed by reformers among them the Massachusetts lawyer and legislator Horace Mann, who agued successfully for a better involvement of the government in the schooling of all children. Mann's commitment for establishment of common school was out off his convictions that a politically stable country and a socially harmonious society was a result of having a universal education.
The legislator, who later retired from politics, resumed the leadership and duties of the newly formed board of education in 1837. Here, he stumped the government claiming that these common schools would open up education to all children. This topic is very important because the introduction of this form of education saw the coming up of common schools that were nonsectarian and provided for religious as well as civil duty. This education was seen as the best equalizer for the conditions of men and a balance will for social machinery.
Though the movement for common school received the support of the native white Americans and the Republican government who were capitalists, the movement faced stiff competition from the Catholics and Protestants. These orientations claimed that the common schools were nonsectarian and that they were non -catholic and non-protestants, a characteristic which could not support the system. Despite this, the system succeeded.
The Civil Rights Movement
During the civil right movement in the post -1945, the role of education was immeasurable as most of the time was spent on learning. The civil rights activists had discovered the need to have all citizens especially the blacks access decent and quality education. They had the believe that in any democracy it was only fair and right to have people regardless of their skin color have the right to good education (Reynolds, 2007).
At the height of the civil rights struggles, the issue of education and civil rights hit the international headlines with education remaining the main focus than the civil rights. This is because up to 1945, the two main areas where racism and segregation was common were in housing and in education. Most poorly financed schools which were found in the southern states belonged to the African Americans. The movement therefore fought to see that this was changed through the philosophy that came out clearly as African Americans were ill-educated.
The movement and its endeavors enjoyed the support of the majority of the local leaders and civilians and enabled it to press on their demands. Unfortunately set movements suffered major challenges including the killing and detentions of its key leaders like Dr. Martin Luther king Jr., who was assassinated in 1968.
Theories of Education
The functionalist theory shows how the universal education serves the needs of the society. Education is seen as the basic knowledge and skills transferred from one generation to the other. This theory was propagated by Durkheim and its main goal was to transfer core values that control the society. One value is the individualism that advocates for liberty rights (Kendall, 2009). On the other hand conflict theory looks at education as tool used to maintain the social inequalities that have been used to preserve the power and position of those who are dominating. The conflicts theory therefore tries to maintain the status quo. Education was not seen as a social benefit but used to maintain power structures and capitalism whiles the poor remain poor (Kendall, 2009).
The cognitive theory is based on the concept that the mind is the main actor in the body of an individual. This theory is associated with the famous psychologist named Jean Piaget. He developed the major aspects of cognitive theory. This theory recognizes that development of the person involves associations that are established through repetition and contiguity. The theory acknowledges the importance of reinforcement and stresses in the role of providing feedback on the correctness of responses received from a child and states that reinforcement acts as a motivator (Bronfenbrenner, 2004).Cognitive psychologists view development as consisting of acquisition or reorganization of cognitive structures through which human being process and store information.
The behaviorism theory as a learning theory was developed by Aristotle who developed an association between lightning and thunder. This theory concentrates on the study of behaviors that are overt and can be observed and measured. It sees and takes the mind as a black box because here response and stimuli can be observed in a quantitative manner thereby ignoring the processes that are occurring in the mind. Those who lend a hand in developing this theory are B.F Skinner, Pavlov, Watson and Thorndike.
The Interactionist theory maintained their analysis of education to what they see in the classroom. This was championed by Robert Rosenthal who focused on what the teacher does in the classroom so as to influence the attitudes and perceptions of the students. Functionalist theory seems to be the most reasoned out theory that would affect the lives of the individuals positively, changing them for better compared to the other two theories.